International students pursue MNSU despite COVID

Minnesota State University, Mankato strives to improve its percentage of international students every year, and the past two have been no different. 

Despite the pandemic, students were eager to begin, or continue on, their education at MNSU and wouldn’t let anything get in their way.

After taking a two-year gap, freshman Muhammad Huzaifa said he was ready to get back to school to continue his education.

“I was searching universities online and I found MNSU. I did not plan on applying for it, I just applied that day,” Huzaifa explained, saying he also heard great things about MNSU’s academics. 

Originally, Huzaifa planned on attending school in Canada, but with the complications of COVID-19 he changed plans.

“The flights were closed so I had to rethink my plans. I applied to universities in the states, and then I decided to come to MNSU.”

First year graduate student Jai Dosajh relied on extensive research as well before coming to Mankato.

“I was searching universities on the Internet and I was asking people who have been living in the states for some time. After consulting them I got to know about MNSU,” he stated.

Other things Dosajh had to factor into his research were tuition and quality of education. He said MNSU checked both boxes. He was also impressed by the measures taken at MNSU to battle COVID-19.

“I read about it in the newspaper and on the Internet that the situation regarding COVID actually kind of controlled in Minnesota, especially in Mankato. The school was taking all of the precautions and taking measures so that things don’t get bad again. I thought ‘Yeah, I can go there,’” Dosajh explained. 

Ryuto Hashimoto, a junior in his first year at MNSU, wanted to continue his schooling at a university that would fit his financial plans and desires for a social life following COVID-19.

“One of my biggest concerns was tuition. I’m thinking about possibly pursuing a master’s degree after getting my bachelors, so I was thinking more strategically to save money for my future plans,” Hashimoto stated. “I started looking for more reasonable schools and I happened to find MNSU, with a good reputation focused on teaching.”

Hashimoto started his college career at Century College in the fall of 2019, so he was able to live some of the typical college student life before being shut inside amidst the pandemic. With vaccine rollouts, he says he’s excited to get the full college experience again.

“The reason why I usually come on campus is because it’s part of my experience. For people studying abroad, they probably value the interaction with people and being in the community instead of taking classes online,” Hashimoto commented. 

With the decision to pack up and travel across the globe to attend college during a pandemic, there are other aspects future students must consider before following through with this choice. 

Huzaifa began his travels with flight connection issues, a struggle many people can relate to. 

“I had two connecting flights and both of them got delayed and my flight time was about 45 hours,” he explained.

Despite this turbulence Huzaifa arrived in Minnesota, eager to begin the new adventure in his life. 

Many were worried about whether classes would be in person or completely online, as this decision would reflect other choices students would have to make. 

For Hashimoto, housing and transportation were huge areas of concern.

“Depending on if classes are going to be completely in person or not, I might have to get an apartment and necessary transportation. That was really difficult for me financially and planning what I have to do in the next couple of months.”

Hashimoto explained further that he spent his summer trying to figure out what the next step was, as his plans were changing with the Universitys’ choices. 

Regardless, each student said they were happy with their choice to pursue MNSU.

“It’s better if you start planning this earlier and do some research about the life here and about the college and the program you’re looking into,” Huzaifa mentioned. 

Added Hashimoto, “Try to get in touch with professors or advisors that you are going to have. It’s important to make connections and have someone they can rely on.”

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