Global pitt stop
Internationals arrive, get oriented into new life
| Marcus Clem reporter |
Most of them have known Southeast Kansas for only a few days, since they stepped off their plane and into what might as well be a new world, not just a new country.
To get to the point where they’re ready for what can be high-intensity study in what is most likely not their native language, Pittsburg State’s international students need some help.
That’s the goal of International Orientation Week, from Aug. 11 to 15, and the volunteers of Pitt State’s office of International Programs and Services.
More than 150 new students have arrived and many are returning from summer trips home.
“I’ve known the difficulties and problems that [international students have] faced,” said Mazhar Ladji, graduate student in business administration and a volunteer for the international office. “It’s kind of nervous being here. I’ve become accustomed to this place and the people with this help, and I want the new students to feel the same way I felt, welcomed and comforted.”
The bulk of these students went through the first phase of orientation on Monday, Aug. 11, getting information, integrating into new homes, jobs and American society.
On Tuesday, Aug. 12., Cathy Lee Arcuino, director of international programs and services, and Stephanie Gonzalez, programming coordinator for international programs and services, held a lunch banquet and informational seminars for the students.
During the seminars Arcuino provided information while also using entertainment to engage the students.
The most prominent example of this was a game called “Making Rain,” where Arcuino proceeded around the room alternating between actions like snapping her fingers or stamping her feet.
The students were instructed to copy her action as she passed by, until she passed by again doing something else. A true storm of activity was the result, and Arcuino was visibly exhausted when it was over.
“Whew, that was a workout!” she exclaimed with a massive gasp on the activity, which appeared to have accomplished its aim of introducing the entertainment culture of the International Office.
Joy Liu, who is in her second year as an Alliance for Language Learning and Educational Exchange (ALLEX) scholar from Taiwan and who serves as graduate teaching assistant of Chinese at Pitt State, says the program is engaging and helpful for the new students.
“It’s very nice that we have a complete system of international education,” she said. “They know everything about this school, where you can go for help. It’s a very complete and thoughtful system for internationals. A lot of universities don’t have that kind of assistance.”