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Students greet and talk to one another between the intermissions of the presentation at the International Student Event at the Satellite Student Union on Aug. 17, 2017. (Benjamin Cruz/The Collegian)

Fresno State welcomes 169 international students, with more to come

Fresno State International Student Services and Programs (ISSP) welcomed 169 international students from across the globe during an International Student Orientation in the Satellite Student Union.

More than 100 new undergraduate students and 53 new graduate students flew in from countries such as Germany, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea, checked into the university and were provided with informational presentations and workshops put on by student international ambassadors.

International ambassadors like Sagnik Mitra, an electrical engineering major, who once checked into the orientation as a first-time international student, waited with his fellow ambassadors and volunteers to welcome arriving students. Their goal was to make the orientation interactive and inclusive.

“They [students] came all the way from their home, so they’re kind of homesick,” Mitra said. “We’ve made some role plays. We told them about the rules and regulations of Fresno State [and] how they should deal with their first semester. We pretty much make them acquainted with all the things they should know before school starts.”

Mitra spoke of his own experience acclimating to life in the U.S., stating that choice of companions helps the adjustment.

“For me, I didn’t choose a group before I came here. So once I got here, I checked in and I learned the process of how they told me to get involved,” Mitra said. “I came to know about the groups, and then I got involved with the groups. It depends on how you do the research or how you manage things. It’s completely based on you.”

Along with the role-play scenarios demonstrating U.S. cultural customs and laws, ISSP hosted its own resource fair, inviting clubs and organizations to encourage student participation.

“We notice that international students are more shy their first semester, so we try to help them get involved with more students,” said Shiho Kurogi, an international ambassador majoring in business-marketing.

These student volunteers and the international ambassadors work to remain allies of the incoming students as they adjust and hope to see other domestic students be just as welcoming.

“We have an accent, and we don’t really speak perfect English. Then we talk to domestic students and sometimes we are really shy or we can see that they don’t understand us fully,” Kurogi said. “That’s why [the ambassadors] are more open to helping them not be shy and to get involved.”

Eventually these students can also work to become international ambassadors themselves to share their own experiences, much like Sujin Kim, a business-accounting major.

“For me, I was an international student first. Then I had a chance to apply for ambassador and I thought it looked cool to help other students because we understand how other students feel, and what they are struggling with,” Kim said.  “We are so happy to help.”

  • Lance

    Congrats to those who have come from afar because being an international student is difficult, on top of our already complex culture and language. Assimilation assistance must come from numerous sources to aid these young people embarking on their life’s journey. Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and even informative books to extend a cultural helping hand so we all have a win-win situation.

    An award-winning worldwide book/ebook that might be of help to anyone coming to the US is “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” Used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it identifies “foreigners” who became successful in the US and how they’ve contributed to our society, including students.

    A chapter on education explains how to be accepted to an American university and cope with a confusing new culture, friendship process and daunting classroom differences. Some stay after graduation. It has chapters that explain how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work with/for an American firm here or overseas.

    It also has chapters that identify the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.

    Good luck to all at FS or wherever you study or wherever you come from, because that is the TRUE spirit of the American PEOPLE, not a few in government who have the loudest voice!