Out of their world, into the jungle
Joud Bayeh | Reporter
Mayuri Muraly says she has experienced the best week of her life so far in the United States.
“We had orientation for a whole week from the morning until after dinner. Every day we had a different schedule and programs assigned to us,” Muraly, sophomore in psychology, said. “We were split up in groups and taken around campus and spoiled with amazing food.”
Muraly, from India, was one of 71 students from 18 countries in four continents who participated in International Orientation Week, held from Jan. 7 to Jan. 11 by the International Office.
The office promoted interactive activities such as games, and dinners in churches throughout Pittsburg. International students were encouraged to get to know each other and establish ties with the community.
Seung Yeon Lee, junior in accounting from South Korea, says that she at first was confused by the number of people she met and the amount of paperwork and documentation required in coming to Pittsburg State.
“It was like mind-blowing, but once I got to know each thing on the right time, everything just settled down and I got used to it,” she said. “I met lots of people, great international friends.”
Besides interactive activities, the students attended a marathon of informative lectures where they obtained essential information about the American educational system, security, health insurance options, obtaining a driver’s license and several other subjects.
Ari Suuronen, exchange student in marketing from Finland, says all the lectures were useful.
“The days were a bit long and exhausting at times because we didn’t have any break between the different sections,” he said.
According to Amanda Soares, exchange student in marketing from Brazil, beyond the lectures, the games served as a good icebreaker.
“For now, I’ll stay only one semester, but I intend to stay longer because I already enjoyed PSU so much. I’m in love!” she said.
During that week, the students were able to join a campus tour guided by a current student, and also ride the PACT bus around Pittsburg to better know the city and its attractions.
Divided into undergraduate, graduate and Intensive English Program (IEP) groups, the students already have good expectations about PSU. Soares says she thinks that she’ll have to study hard because it’s very different from the Brazilian educational system.
“I took 17 credit hours and it’s going to be hard because of the language barrier,” she said.
Suuronen says it takes some time to get out of your comfort zone and get to know the PSU community, especially if you are not the only student from your country that is attending.
“I hope I can know more American friends, too, so that way I can learn more English,” Yeon Lee said.
To organize this event, the International Office worked with the help of the International Student Association, and some current students who were responsible for organizing the activities and also making sure everybody was getting involved in the university.
“The only people I have to thank for this week are the guys who made it all work in the international office, the registrar’s office, the student helpers, the people who took us from one place to another driving up and down the town,” Muraly said. “On the whole, I thank Pitt State for the warmest welcome I could ask for.”