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  • The Current UMSL

UMSL Continues to Support International Students

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

By Michael Graham, Molly Motes, Ren Okawa, and Brady Reis

UMSL offers varied cultural events for international students on campus.

As things begin to return to normal on campus, events and activities are popping up to include those that reinforce UMSL’s culturally rich student population. These events and activities support both the U.S and international student population to make them feel more at home and to make new friends. Events on campus are organized by students on their own or with the assistance of the UMSL Global, the office that handles all matters regarding international students.

Students who are roommates. They are pleased to get to know each other's cultures.

Annie Hyde is a faculty member who works in UMSL Global and focuses on the study abroad program. She said that she and her team are planning more events throughout the year. One upcoming event is a bonfire out at Eckert’s Farm in Belleville, Illinois this October. They are also planning on having events in November and December as well. In addition to these social events, they offer Optional Practical Training for international students who are about to graduate but want to stay in the United States and get a job. “We are always looking for more ways to get students involved,” said Annie.

The Japanese American Student Association (JASA) is a student organization that seeks to promote cultural awareness of both America and Japan. They meet weekly, in-person and online, to host a language exchange where students can learn and practice both Japanese and English together. One of their events coming up is JASA’s Playground where they will be playing nostalgic children’s games, like duck-duck-goose, in the MSC’s Century Room C.

Suzuha Hayakawa, a political science major from Japan, will be studying at UMSL for the 2021 school year. She’s excited to be at UMSL because of its diverse population of students. UMSL Global hosted a lunch and dinner to sit down and eat together. Suzuha said “it was so nice” referring to being able to meet such a diverse group of students. She works for UMSL Global and is working on creating and advertising events for international students.

“I’m really happy to meet new people here,” Suzuha Hayakawa, an international student from Japan.

Another ongoing event is the Hispanic Heritage month, going on now till October 15. It is supporting a wide array of events such as online cooking classes, dance classes, and a “torneo de fútbol.” This is a great way for those of Hispanic heritage to express their culture and share it with others. Marc Cejudo, an international student from Barcelona, Spain said “we are playing the volleyball tournament and we will be playing the soccer tournament too.” Both Miguel Barranco, another international student, and Marc showed excitement about both of those events. The soccer tournament is part of Hispanic Heritage month while the volleyball tournament was student-led.

International students teamed up to join a volleyball tournament.

Tutoring services are also offered to international students. Subhan Pial, an international graduate student, says, “he will go to tutoring if he is having problems with his courses” but doesn’t go regularly. On the other hand, “it can be challenging to understand what the professor is saying,” said Suzuha.

One problem Suzuha has is with the food options available on UMSL’s campus. “I really like fresh veggies and fresh raw fish. I love sushi,” Suzuha said but UMSL has made it difficult to get that type of food on campus. The Current has previously published a story about the food option earlier this semester.

Thankfully the students aren’t feeling homesick. Miguel isn’t suffering from being homesick and says “no, no it’s because we are having a good time” but it may be because they’ve only been at UMSL a month. Suzuha hasn’t felt homesick either since she can contact home via smartphones and similar technologies.

“Everything is perfect here,” says Marc when referring to international student life at UMSL, “amazing.”


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