Penn State welcomes new international students, parents

September 01, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Throughout August, new international students, both graduate and undergraduate, and their parents arrived in Happy Valley to begin their careers at Penn State. The University welcomed almost 3,000 new international students from 97 countries for the fall 2017 semester, bringing the total number to almost 10,000 across the Commonwealth. A total of 1,200 students from 60 countries participated in International Student Orientation (ISO).

“International students bring a lot of value to our classrooms, our campuses, and our communities,” said Jennifer Campbell, director of Global Operations and Learning in the Office of Global Programs. “I’m always excited to meet the new students during the orientation process and help them along.”

The Presidential Welcome Reception, hosted by Global Programs and held on Old Main lawn, was a focal point of International Student Orientation.

At the event, Campbell introduced Michael Adewumi, vice provost for Global Programs, who reassured students and parents that they had made a great decision.

“We have a vast alumni network across the world,” he said. “Whether you decide to stay here after graduation, to go home, or to live in another country, the value of a Penn State education will follow you wherever you go.”

Adewumi then introduced Penn State President Eric Barron, who further emphasized the support offered to students.

“We want to support you,” Barron said. “Please, use the Office of Global Programs. They are there to ensure your success. And take advantage of all the great things the University has to offer.”

International Student Orientation took place over the course of several days, during which time students were put into groups led by an Orientation Leader — many times an international student themselves. Students opened bank accounts, moved into their residence halls, met with their academic advisers, and learned about American laws and immigration requirements. They also took part in cultural activities, such as attending the Grange Fair.

The success of ISO was bolstered by several new initiatives. Global Programs organized an International Parent Orientation, which attracted more than 200 parents. Parents learned about various services offered to their students, how to cope with their students studying in another country, and the safety measures taken by the campus.

“Your students’ safety is our No. 1 priority,” said Adewumi.

To best prepare students for their arrival, several online modules — covering topics such as life at Penn State, advising, health insurance and immigration — were provided to students in advance. These modules ensured a smooth transition and permitted the new international students to focus their energy on the exciting aspects of their new environment, such as participating in orientation.

Most significantly, ISO required efforts from various offices across campus. Without University-wide collaborations, new international students would not have the tools necessary to successfully join the Penn State community.

As students begin their new lives at Penn State, Global Programs will continue to offer cultural and social events through the Foundations in Global Engagement (FiGE) program. FiGE regularly sponsors events and trips, and even hosts international students for traditional American holidays such as Thanksgiving. Interested students can contact gset@psu.edu for more information.

Last Updated September 01, 2017