With food, dance and a very social and unique round of bingo, 34 new international students were welcomed to California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) by the College of Extended and International Education (CEIE) during its International Student Welcome Reception on Sept. 23.
The festivities included remarks from CEIE Dean Kim McNutt, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Junn, and Acting Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs William Franklin. The event included “International Bingo”–an interactive game designed to help students get to know each other–presentations, and student dance and musical performances.
“Today shows the great diversity we have here on campus, and it’s my charge to grow this wonderful program and bring more international students to CSU Dominguez Hills,” said McNutt. “We are thinking both holistically and strategically about international students. However, it’s not just about bringing more students here, but also providing the services you really need, such as additional housing, access to events and assisting with student affairs, things that will make you all feel part of the campus community.”
The event included international students from the American Language and Culture Program, exchange students, USAID Scholarships for Education and Economic Development Program (SEED) participants from El Salvador, traditional students who had recently returned from studying abroad, F-1 students pursuing an academic degree at the institution, and others.
Alonso Sánchez, a new international student at CSUDH and a business major who transferred from Santa Monica College, is already making good connections on campus.
“This is a pretty cool place. I’ve met a lot of people from different countries already. I didn’t know it was so diverse,” he said. “I like business, particularly buying and selling products. It’s a family thing. My family owns its own business in Guadalajara, Mexico.”
McNutt announced during his welcome remarks that the CEIE is in the process of hiring an associate dean for international education to assist with attracting more students from other countries to CSUDH, to help streamline admissions, coordinate with student affairs and student life, and work with academic units and faculty.
During his remarks, Franklin discussed how the university is looking to increase international experiences within the student body and curriculum, and explore strategies to expand the voice of international students and make their experience on campus “even more fruitful.”
“We just had an exciting meeting with on-campus housing developers and will complete our feasibility study soon on the type and kind of new student housing we want,” he announced. “One of the pieces in that conversation was ‘What kind of considerations should we make for international students as we think about the design of our new student housing?’ So you are here at a key time–with a president who understands the needs of international students. We are all here to help foster access and success for you all.”
Junn shared that of the 34 new international students that the most (17) came from Saudi Arabia. Other countries represented in the cohort included Sweden, France, Korea, New Zealand, Colombia, Cambodia, China, India, and Japan. These students receive support navigating immigration requirements and their transition to the university through International Student Services (ISS). The ISS office provides support services to matriculated international students pursuing a degree at the institution.
Enthusiastic about the growing number of international students at CSUDH–up from 88 last year to 100 this fall–Junn said the university’s goal is to reach 300 over the next few years. She also shared a bit of her family history.
“From a personal standpoint, if it weren’t for international education, I would not be standing here today. My parents were international students who both came from Korea approximately 60 years ago and were welcomed to the United States as graduate students,” she said.
Hillina Gebreyohannes, a master’s student studying education in her second year at CSUDH who currently works for International Student Services and serves as the Associated Students, Inc. representative for international students.
“I’ve had a great experience with everyone here at CSUDH. The fact that it’s a small campus enables me to integrate easily with students, the facilities and technology,” she said. “Working for ASI has helped me quickly integrate on campus. I also like the way ASI promotes leadership.”
When asked what advice she would give new international students, Gebreyohanness recommended, “Participate, participate, participate–in whatever you can. Get into the student clubs and go to events. Get out there.”
For more information about CSUDH’s international program for both foreign students to study at CSUDH and traditional students to study aboard, visit csudh.edu/iec.