The Shawnee State University Campus has become increasingly diverse, as each year sees an increase in international student enrollment.
“This semester, we have 80 international students on our campus and residing within our Portsmouth community,” said Ryan Warner, the Director for the Center for International Programs & Activities (CIPA).
They come from: Germany, England, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Nigeria, Cameroon, Pakistan, Tunisia, Syria, Venezuela, Colombia, Japan, Korea, and Egypt.
“They do a good job, really taking care of the incoming students and offer help if one has a problem,” said former student Franziska Grob. Grob studied at Shawnee in the Fall of 2013. “They are very organized and even have a storage for second hand objects one needs when moving in a new place. My experience was really great, and I’m thankful for their support throughout my studying there.”
The Rose L. and a Jacobs Center for International Programs and Activities is located on the east side of campus on Second Street one block from Shawnee State University’s West Parking Lot on the corner of Second and Union streets, next door to The Children’s Learning Center.
CIPA’s mission is to provide Shawnee State University’s students and its community with opportunities to appreciate different values and cultures around the world. These experiences prepare students for the increasingly global nature of society, encourage their understanding of other people, and enable them to contribute to the well-being of the world community.
“We have seen an increase over the past academic year of about 8 new degree seeking students from what we had a year ago,” said Warner.
The U.S. university/college is one of the most sought after forms of high education in the world among international students coming out of high school. World student mobility trends indicate that the U.S. is still a leading destination for prospective international students. The Institute of International Education (IIE) reported that 974,926 international students studied in a U.S. college or university for the 2014/2015 academic year.
“There are a lot of variables that attribute to why international students seek out the U.S. for higher education, but one of those main reasons is our strength in the STEM fields (Science, Technology,. Engineering, and Math). To be precise, 44% of all inbound international students to the U.S. were coming to study a STEM field major, specifically in Engineering and Math/Computer Science,” explained Warner.
But what attracts these students to the small town of Portsmouth, Ohio?
Warner says, it’s just the quality of education and Shawnee’s outstanding, affordable programs.
“Shawnee State strictly markets their programs to international students via online marketing, government partnerships, social networking, and strong peer to peer word-of-mouth information sharing,” said Warner. “Some programs do market themselves, for example, Shawnee’s game design degree as well as our non-licensure education program for international students.”
Shawnee does has a variety of ‘sister’ institutions they partnered with to share exchange students. This means that Shawnee receives an international student for one semester or year and Shawnee sends a domestic student to the partner school abroad.
One student, Molly Arey spent a semester studying abroad in Spain through Shawnee’s sister program.
“I’m really thankful that I went through CIPA, because they were extremely helpful and had given me a lot of tips and information to try and prepare me,” said Arey. “But it felt like being whirl-winded into a whole different world. I had never flown before or traveled outside of the country, other than a spontaneous trip to Canada the week before I left. I said goodbye to my family and my boyfriend and three planes and 24 hours later I was starting my life in a new country surrounded by people I could barely communicate with. It was terrifying. But, it was the best thing that I have ever done. I made amazing connections with wonderful people from all over the world and fell in love with the world.”
Currently, there are three active partner schools abroad in Germany, Spain, and China.
“For the fall 2016 semester, we have three students from Germany and Spain on our campus and Shawnee has sent two domestic students to Spain and will send another student to Germany for one year beginning in September 2016,” said Warner.
For more information about the Center for International Programs & Activities, you can contact Ryan Warner at 740-351-3127, or visit CIPA’s online site at www.shawnee.edu/offices/international-students
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932, Facebook “Ciara Conley – Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara