Student Affairs units flex to meet international students' needs
Our wonderfully diverse campus includes more than 9,400 students from other countries – nearly 5,000 of them undergraduates. These international students enrich our campus culture, and help our domestic students develop global perspectives.
The high percentage of international students also brings some challenges for Student Affairs. Undergraduates, in particular, may arrive on our campus with little experience away from home, limited English-language skills, and many needs for support.
Student Affairs staff members have stayed on top of enrollment trends, and continue to adjust programs and services for our students from other countries. Here are just a few examples of how program and services are adjusted for our international students:
In Student Legal Services alone, about 45 percent of the clients are students from other countries. The language barrier, the need to communicate with families overseas, and very limited understanding of the U.S. legal system are just a few of the factors that add to the complexity of legal issues for international students. Student Legal is developing a new set of protocols to clarify processes for both students and staff.
Beliefs and attitudes about counseling vary from one culture to the next. So when an international student needs mental-health services, extra effort and resources may be required. The Counseling Center has hired two clinicians who speak Mandarin, and four clinicians now work in outreach to our international students.
Employment-related issues usually are more complicated for international students. Sometimes, international students don’t want to follow family desires for their career. And some employers either can’t hire international students or don’t want to go through the Visa process. The Career Center offers a special series of career certifications for international students, to help them prepare for life after graduation.
University Housing, McKinley Health Center, the Dean of Students Office, Campus Rec, OIIR and other Student Affairs units also make a special effort to reach out to international students with programming and services designed to meet their needs. The examples are far too numerous to list here!
I’m proud of the way Student Affairs staff have embraced the cultural richness our international students bring to campus – and have stepped up to meet the program- and service-related challenges that come along with them. We will continue to assess the needs of all of our students, and adjust our programs to ensure that we are supporting their success to graduation and beyond.
C. Renée Romano
Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs
Read some of Vice Chancellor Romano's previous messages.