Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Office helps foreign students find their place at U

August 15, 2001

Vikas Menon, a computer engineering sophomore, left his life in India with a suitcase in pursuit of a college degree at MSU.

A year later, Menon is welcoming students from around the world to Spartan country.

“I was excited, but I wondered if people would accept me,” he said of his first days in East Lansing.

Menon said a week of orientation programs through the Office for International Students and Scholars prepared him for college life.

“After having left home for the first time I was homesick, and I met friends in the same situation,” Menon said. “It was a week of fun.”

The office helps students maintain legal status, apply for financial aid and provides networking for the students to the MSU community.

“We’re the first people they turn to,” said Tina Turnbull, the international student adviser.

In the next week, about 700 to 800 international undergraduate and graduate students will embark on a voyage to MSU.

The office aims to increase retention by expanding the orientation programs to include programming for early arrivals. The office picks up students from the airport and arranges campus move-in dates.

“Retention is key because it gives international students a voice on campus,” Turnbull said.

Menon said it’s great to give back to the students and coordinators who helped him.

“It’s nice to be the first to welcome them,” he said.

The students participate in orientation programs that address their needs and introduce students to more than 40 different international student groups.

Turnbull said the program helps make MSU the students’ new home.

“A key to retention is making connections with people on campus,” Turnbull said. “You need to feel like you’re a part of the campus.”

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