MSU embraces and accepts diversity internationally. There are students from more than 130 countries on campus.
Here, you can learn different cultural values and manners by making friends with international students, taste foods from different countries in the cafeterias and try to learn other languages through courses or your international friends.
For international students, you may be worried about your immigration status, your official paper work, such as I-20, passports and so on. Where should you go? The answer is the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). It is also a main source for you to learn about many other resources available on campus.
The mission of OISS is providing assistance and services to international students and scholars. The most important program of the year is international orientation. It will help new international students collect the information they need from both social and academic life.
“We suggest them to pay attention to the presentations during orientation,” said James Dorsett, the director of OISS. He said it also helps students understand the differences here from their home countries like the drinking age.
In some countries, there is no limit on the age someone can drink alcohol. But here in the U.S., “you must be 21 years old to drink alcohol,” said Amber Cordell, Educational Programs Coordinator at OISS.
“For international undergraduate students, IAOP is mandatory,” Cordell said. “Before they come here, we (also) have online orientation. It’s called SpartanPreview. We have presentations, most videos, (were) made by lots of departments (on campus), especially by the MSU police departments.”
In addition to the OISS faculty, local community members are also willing to help international students.
“We hope they can come to us and talk about everything,” said Joy Walter, International Advisor and Community Outreach Coordinator at OISS. “The whole community, definitely the people I interacted with, they are willing to learn different cultures and meet new students here.”
Studying abroad in another country is challenging, especially when it comes to living with people who speak a completely different language.
“Sometimes domestic students want to make friends with international students. And international students also want to make friends with domestic students. But some students are too worried about their English skills, ” Cordell said. “You just have to try. There is always something you can talk about. At least something you can talk about, like the weather, helping with homework, asking for help, etc.”
There are also ways you can enjoy your Spartan life on campus, such as joining student groups, being involved in campus events, actively interacting with professors and colleagues and so on.