By Nami Nagaoka
The fall semester will kick off by welcoming the largest class of international students that Youngstown State University has seen to date.
According to Carly Devenburgh, assistant director of International Student and Scholar Services, YSU is welcoming 182 new international students as of Thursday. Prior to this intake, YSU had 269 international students enrolled.
Nate Myers, associate provost of International and Global Initiatives at YSU, visited the Kuwaiti embassy in Washington, D.C. twice last year to speak about the opportunities YSU has to offer. He said Kuwait has a scholarship program in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, so YSU’s STEM program was the focus.
He visited Nepal to present YSU programs in the spring as well, which he said was a successful trip.
“The sessions were packed,” Myers said. “We had a very good reception there.”
He explained that the growing number of international students enrolling at YSU provides better educational opportunities of negotiating different world views.
“Internationalization as a trend is not going to stop and we are only going to become more interconnected,” he said.
The International Programs Office handles international students’ immigration and advisement needs and international faculty immigration processing. Devenburgh said since the number of students to help will increase, the IPO will have to institute new processes to handle walk-ins and requests.
“While I am always happy to meet with and help students, there is a lot of work to be done,” she said. “This is just the beginning. We will continue to grow in the next several years.”
IPO also assists new students by offering airport pickups. This semester, Devenburgh said over 80 students were welcomed by YSU representatives at the airport and driven to their place of residence between Aug. 13 and 14.
“It was especially challenging because not only did we need space to transport the students but also their luggage. We had to outsource to a company that had a big enough bus,” Devenburgh said.
Bikash Thapa, a freshman from Nepal majoring in computer science and minoring in mathematics, is a Leslie H. Cochran scholar and honors student. He found out about the Honors College, the international community and financial aid availability at YSU through Myers’ information session in Nepal last spring.
“I really, really liked the honors program and the close community within it,” Thapa said. “I will be focusing most of my time figuring out the ways to deal with the global problems like poverty so that I can make some impact back in my home country.”
When asked about the cultural differences between the United States and Nepal, Thapa said that it will take some time to adjust to the new environment. However, he knows that he has people to help him in the meantime.
“I have never felt lonely, even though everything is new all of a sudden,” Thapa said.
The next step is to develop relationships with South America, Central America and the Caribbean, Myers said.
“We will keep telling our story to Vietnam and Nepal,” Myers said. “The only profit that any of us could ever make is educating the students well and sending them out into the world to do good work.”