Campus Life

International Community Continues to Grow at USU

(photo from the USU Statesman Online)

The Student Life section of Utah State Today highlights work written by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. Each week, the editor selects a story that has been published in The Utah Statesman or the Hard News Café or both for inclusion in Utah State Today.

International Community Continues to Grow at USU

By Veronica Stephen in The Utah Statesman Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Walking through campus at Utah State University, students can hear a variety of accents and languages, adding diversity and character to the campus. It also allows students to broaden their education while not having to necessarily be in a classroom.

There are about 800 international students, said Rob Llewellyn, an international student adviser in the Office of Global Engagement.

What attracts international students to USU?

Huxley Ng, an international studies major at USU from Hong Kong, had heard a lot about the programs at USU.

“Some say the value of the education for the cost. The value of the degree is still ranked very high,” Llewellyn said. “Some know other people that came here. Others come because of specific programs. Some also say that they researched and saw that Logan is one of the safest cities in the country.”

Academic and safety pros aside, Logan attracts many people because of it’s [sic] size and country feel, while still having certain conveniences.

“I like small towns. Coming from Hong Kong, I know it is something weird to say, but when I first got to Ephraim, I liked the quiet, the small town, the simple life. Logan is bigger compared to Ephraim, but I think it gives me the feel of a small town but is convenient enough,” said Ng, who spent some time at Snow College, before coming to USU. “It just feels good. In general it is a good environment.”

The outdoors opportunities are a drawing factor for some international students, as well.

“Utah is outdoors. I love it — the mountains, camping, the outdoors. I love it,” said Yuzhen Luo, the International Student Council President.

USU has a system to help the international students become involved and feel comfortable. For international students, it is second nature to know about the International Student Council (ISC) or the Global Engagement Offices (GEO), but many native students may have never heard of these organizations.

This is attributed partly to the fact that there was a change of location for the ISC and GEO offices, from the Taggart Student Center to the back of the Military Science Building. It’s a remote and somewhat hidden location, making it harder for students to notice and therefore get involved.

Llewellyn’s job is key — he helps students become acquainted with USU and American culture and regulations.

“There are a lot of rules they have to know and follow, and that’s why we’re here, to help them know those rules and the benefits of their student visas,” he said.

He also thoroughly enjoys the experiences he has had.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “The great thing about international students is they love sharing their culture. Sometimes without their knowing it, they are sharing their culture by just being here.”

Luo agreed.

“It’s been a very rewarding experience for me. I contribute to the diversity,” he said.

There are nine different international student organizations to support individual culture groups and share their culture. These organizations regularly have activities, whether it be hiking up to the wind caves and socializing or the yearly International Student Pageant, where students get to show their talents and culture to other members of the international community and USU.

“My role as president is to just walk and hold the hands of the other council members and guide them through the process of getting into leadership roles so they can help other students,” Luo said.

ISC is a support system that helps students through the daily adventure of getting accustomed to American culture.

Anyone who has lived in another country knows what culture shock feels like.

“Think of a student of that arrives on a Sunday — there are no buses, no one’s on the street, not even on campus. Nothing’s open. Those are the stories that I hear often. A positive culture shock is that buses are free, but they don’t run on Sundays,” said Llewelyn.

Ng feels that American students and teachers have been welcoming and helpful.

“The professors understand my limit,” he said.

There are many ways to help fellow international students feel welcome. Whether it be introducing oneself in class or going to the international activities planned by these organizations, the student body can help along with these students’ transition into college and American culture.

The international Facebook page is International Students at USU. There, students can hear about upcoming events.

roniastephen@gmail.com

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