Office for International Students and Scholars offers day trips to international students

MSU’s Office for International Students and Scholars, or OISS, will be providing international students the chance to experience some of the nation’s most popular cities, including Chicago this Saturday.

For years, OISS has planned field trips targeted at the MSU international student population and visiting scholars who are here on temporary visas to help them see as much of American culture as possible.

OISS International Sponsored Student Advisor Nicole Namy said the trips were created as a way to help international and domestic students understand cultural simulations,make friends and develop memories during their stay in the U.S.

Trips in the past have included sporting events, Cedar Point, shopping excursions, museums, a visit to Niagara Falls in Canada and more.

Throughout the years, the popularity of these trips have increased and OISS turned to Assistant Director of Residence Education Joshua Gillespie for support. Since then, Gillespie said there has been a trip planned at least once a month and they usually capture hundreds of students who go in attendance.

“We do as many trips as possible,” Gillespie said. “Thus far, most of the trips we’ve gone on, they have received raving reviews from the students.”

Interested students sign up in advance and Gillespie will organize a bus based on number of students attending. The morning of the trip, students depart from campus, travel to the set location and are given the freedom to explore their surroundings. Afterward, students return and arrive back to campus later that evening.

Namy said the trips are chosen based on what’s going on locally but what students would like to see as well.

“I remember one time, he (Gillespie) took 500 students to see a Detroit Pistons game,” Namy said. “It was huge — I think it was maybe against the Lakers and everyone wanted to see Kobe Bryant.”

Third-year graduate student Anna Szwedzinska has gone on the OISS field trips for the past five years. Szwedzinska is an international student from Poland and because her only means of transportation is her bike, she said she’s often limited to MSU’s campus.

“I think the field trips are important for international students because we get to go somewhere outside MSU,” Szwedzinska said. “With busy schedules, and only TA/RA assistantships we don’t have many opportunities to go anywhere. Those trips are affordable and also safe, as you leave from campus and you arrive back here as well.”

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