Updated: Nov 2, 2021
30 newly-arrived international students from around the globe are enjoying Salisbury’s campus for the fall semester.
Six of these students are participating in SU’s Exchange Visitor Program, which has partner universities in Scotland, Korea and Japan.
International students are degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students, some of which are studying those with the English Language Institute. All students are hosted by the Janet Dudley-Eshbach Center for International Education.
Dr. Brian Stiegler is the center’s assistant provost. Dr. Stiegler says “orientation allowed the group to connect as a community before they each engage in their own social lives.” Activities fair allowed students to get involved on campus.
Junior Chiara Busini, a psychology major, visits from the University of Stirling in Scotland. Busini described the University of Stirling as having a rich natural beauty just like Salisbury's campus.
The contrasting university lifestyle is enough to culminate a culture shock, according to Busini, but she has managed to find comfort in the similarities.
“We have been meeting a lot of people, playing volleyball, going to clubs and societies ... psychology club and outdoors club for now,” Busini said.
With all the students housed and enrolled, they are generally very happy, Dr. Stiegler says, many residing in Seagull Square.
Dr. Stiegler discussed how the contract with Global Village was not continued this year, resulting in housing challenges for newly arrived international grad students, who are not permitted to live on campus. “We don’t have housing for graduate students so they’re just trying to rent in the community, and it’s been a terrific challenge,” Dr. Stiegler said.
Not all study abroad hopefuls made it to campus as 25 students from partner institutions in Central China were unable to obtain visas for their semester in the United States.
As a supplement, the now-online cohort is being offered four courses to continue their studies this semester.
Another student is staying connected online from the American University of Yangon in Myanmar, a nation under the control of a coup for several months.
In early September of 2021, the National Unity Government declared war on the military, destabilizing the country and causing her to lose Gullnet access. SU is supporting her endeavor to obtain a visa and potentially to arrive on campus in the late fall semester of 2021.
COVID-19 protocols delayed the visa process for many international students, as all were required to obtain testing and vaccination records before quarantining upon arrival. The process was made easier for the group as they were guided by staff at the Center for International Education.
Melissa Aristizabal is the international student success coordinator. She also helped organize orientation activities and has been an excellent resource for international students' necessities.
The buddy program, previously utilized by the center, is hoped to be continued this semester by pairing each student from abroad with an American SU student.
“The idea is a more open invitation for American and international students to know each other and help each other and learn from their cultures and their languages,” Aristizabal said.
These students are experiencing a new cultural immersion on campus, similar to the SU students studying abroad throughout the world.
By BEES BEESLEY
Featured photos courtesy of SU International Students and Scholars Webpage