MSU student helps run company focusing on assimilating international students into U.S.
International students every year attend universities in the U.S. to learn not only academics, but also to learn about U.S. culture.
However, international students can have a hard time not only learning academically at U.S. universities, but also assimilating into American culture.
“Even though we are so diverse, I still feel like there’s cliques,” international relations senior Kaleigh Sieczkowski said.
Sieczkowski is part of a company called International Angels. Founded in 2013, the company aims to both help international students and domestic students studying abroad with assimilating into a culture and being able to succeed academically.
International Angels does this by bringing both domestic and international students together to help assimilate each other in their respective cultures, founder of International Angels Sally He said.
He said she started the business because she noticed a lot of problems when she was working with international students in socialization, especially those from China.
“They tend to be more shy or scared to get themselves out there, their English is not good,” He said. "They will segregate themselves with each other ... they're really scared to ask questions to the professors or scared to make friends with American students."
As a result of this, one issue they experience is bringing students out of their comfort zone.
“A lot of international students feel comfortable with each other, so they only talk to other international students,” Sieczkowski said.
This is also apparent with domestic students, too, Sieczkowski said, as most domestic students don’t try to reach out to international students.
“It’s a shame because there’s so much to learn from each other,” Sieczkowski said.
This doesn’t mean domestic students don’t use International Angel’s services, Sieczkowski said.
“They want to work abroad and they have a lack of global knowledge,” Sieczkowski said. “It’s a really great way to get out international students involved on campus and for them to get to know the domestic students.”
Sieczkowski said He’s sector of International Angels, the business sector, focuses more on the academic side, and international students struggle in the aspect they don’t have an idea of what classes to take.
“The American system, the way we do college here is very, very different than from most other countries in the world,” Sieczkowski said. “A lot of times they come here, they fall behind in graduation rates, they’re afraid to speak English in class and they don’t do well anyways, they don’t go to class, whatever it be.”
Even with these difficulties, Sieczkowski said that being a international relations major, it she might be more passionate than other students, but this shouldn’t stop other students from helping out.
“Especially since we are in such a globalized world, it’s so easy to get to know other people from other countries,” Sieczkowski said. “Even me, I can’t really afford to travel, there’s so many people here, you can almost travel with your friends here and make new friends.”