Thursday, October 21, 2021

Local hidden gems incoming out-of-state and international students should check out

September 2, 2021
Foster Coffee Co. is another great place for coffee and studying off campus.
Foster Coffee Co. is another great place for coffee and studying off campus. —
Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

Michigan State University: home to Michiganders — and everyone else, too.

While Michigan natives come to the university with some sense of familiarity — even though there is some new scenery for them, too — out-of-state students and international students are in for a whole new world in the mitten. From Michigan lefts to the Great Lakes, here are some things to keep an eye out for.

Right on campus

Michigan State University is well-known for its numerous attractions, including the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Red Cedar River and the Spartan Statue. The beauty of campus offers students arriving from beyond Michigan's borders much more, academically and socially.

Joe Bjorkman, a political theory and constitutional democracy sophomore from Ohio, said he recommends out-of-state students take a stroll through the courtyard north of the Red Cedar.

"During winter time, it's gorgeous to walk through," Bjorkman said. "Any spot out there is great to hang out with people during the summer too when there's no snow because it's so green. It's utterly gorgeous and gives you a different perspective from the normal concrete atmosphere of the campus. It welcomes you to a more natural part of campus."

Bjorkman said another one of his favorite spots was under one of the bridges over the Red Cedar that is covered with graffiti.

"I took a bunch of pictures there," he said. "When the Red Cedar froze over, my friends and I walked on the river and hung out. We pretended like we were going to fall in. It was a great time."

East Lansing hot spots

To grab food on campus, Bjorkman said he recommends Peking Express on East Grand River Avenue, a local business serving Asian cuisine.

"When I was walking home … my friends passed a pizza place and they're like, 'I really want pizza,'" Bjorkman said. "Right below the pizza place was this really small restaurant. It had Chinese food, some Japanese food, a little bit of Korean. I wanted to go to this place and the guy who owned it was super nice. I got carry-out, and it became my favorite place on campus to grab food."

Kayla Nelsen, a environment studies and sustainability sophomore from Indiana, said she suggests out-of-state students check out Strange Matter Coffee and Bakery located on East Michigan Avenue in Lansing.

"It's a doughnut place and they've got all these crazy flavors of homemade doughnuts," Nelsen said. "It's a small business so I like to go there a lot. ... There's a lot of nice local little restaurants off of Grand River, especially, which are fun."

For studying, Nelsen said her go-to spot is Foster Coffee, which is only located in select Michigan cities.

"It has a nice ambiance for doing homework and studying," Nelsen said. "Also, the coffee is really, really good."

Likewise, journalism sophomore Subah Bhatia, an international student, said she recommends Foster Coffee for a refreshing drink or studying.

"It's a great place to work, they have a cute corner where you can sit that's quiet and everyone's just working over there. That's one cafe I really like," Bhatia said.

International or out-of-state students would benefit from visiting Curious Book Shop, Bhatia said. She said the shop was a little library with two floors and a small basement with a lot of antiques.

"I haven't seen that anywhere else," Bhatia said. "As soon as I came, that was the one place that I went to. I felt that was pretty unique. It had a lot of Michigan-related books, Michigan-related videos and old papers and articles and small mementos, and the owners were super sweet, so I really like that place. It gave off a really nice East Lansing vibe."

Social relations and policy sophomore Jackie Lasselle, an Illinois native, said her friends would explore Green River Cafe often. Every Sunday, Lasselle and her friends took advantage of free parking to enjoy a rooftop sunset.

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"After you park your car, you walk up the stairs, and you can get to the rooftop and see the sunset," Lasselle said. "You can see the entire campus. It was always really fun. That was something my friends liked a lot to do, just like hanging out, and nothing crazy."

Spartans across the country moved in on Aug. 26-29 and international students began moving in on or after Aug. 23 as classes are set to begin Sept. 1.

MSU's Fall Welcome commenced on Aug. 26 and ends Sept. 10 with events such as the Fall Welcome Spartan Spectacular on Aug. 31. The event begins at 4 p.m and ends at 10 p.m, with an exciting spirit pep rally at Spartan Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Additional information can be found here. 

This article is a part of our Welcome Week print issue. The full issue can be viewed here.

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