Transitioning from education in their home countries, international students face obstacles and challenges coming to the U.S., yet they take the chance for their education.
According to SUNY.edu, the New York State university system educates more than 22,000 international students from 160 different countries.
Walking through the Plattsburgh State campus, students could encounter many different languages and cultures because of the international student population. PSUC enrolls over 100 new international freshman students from over 65 countries each year.
“I think international students face different kinds of challenges,” Student Engagement Specialist Carolina De la Rosa said.
She said the differences are cultural when adapting to the customs of our campus and local community. However, some students may not experience cultural shock.
Many international students who attend PSUC have had previous experience away from their home countries. Some were born in a country and received their high school diploma in another.
Along with cultural differences, these students could also encounter differences in the education system.
“Liberal arts is very common in the U.S., but not in a lot of other countries,” De la Rosa said. “The whole idea of having a general education requirement and such a robust extra curricular life on campus may be something different, not necessarily a challenge.”
Ba Wool Lim, a junior marketing and business administration major, was born in Korea then moved to China. He said his cultural background is Chinese.
Lim said in China the school is more “closed,” meaning every student is more focused on his or her studies and not on the social aspect of education.
“I chose to come here because I feel like the school has more possibilities to success in the future because we don’t only focus on our studies,” Lim said. “We have a lot of clubs we can participate in to increase our knowledge and abilities for the future.”
Aditya Manakiwala, a sophomore computer science major from Kenya, said one of the reasons he came to PSUC was because of the difference in the university system between colleges in his home country and here.
He said professors aren’t paid as well as they should at home, so they won’t teach in their field. Some of those who do choose to educate have to be employed elsewhere to sustain themselves, making them unavailable until after the business day is over.
De la Rosa said one of the reasons students are attracted to PSUC is the safe environment. When parents are looking to send their students abroad, compared to places such as New York City, Plattsburgh is a “calm and safe” environment.
“The government is corrupt,” Manakiwala said. “It is not safe there, and you have to finish university by 6 p.m. because you can’t walk outside, in the open, after that.”
Priom Rashid, a senior business administration and graphic design major from Bangladesh, said one problem an international student could have at PSUC is being alone.
“I found so many friends from all over the world, and as soon as school started, studies kept me busy,” she said. “Hanging out with friends made me calm down, and not think about home as much.”
De la Rosa said even though PSUC international students face challenges, that doesn’t stop them from contributing to the campus.
Email Lisa Scivolette at firstname.lastname@example.org