For the second consecutive year, Minnesota State University, Mankato ranks 12 nationally in international student population according to an annual “Open Doors” report recently released by the Institute of International Education.
Jacy Fry, Director of the Kearney International Center, said, “Our application numbers are up. We have 150% more applications than what we had last year this time over the semester.”
This semester, there are approximately 1,615 international students from 96 different countries enrolled with the University, as stated by the International Center.
Daniel Schwartz, Director of Retention at the KIC, spoke about the huge influx of international students after the restrictions from COVID-19 began to be lifted.
“There are over 350 students working on their OPT [Optional Practical Training] right now,” Schwartz stated. “Now there are more positions for staff members, as well as student workers, to work towards international student success.”
The center is always looking to provide the best resources for international students, as they understand the transition to a new country isn’t always easy.
“Most students are directly supervised and guided by the international student staff, who are appointed by KIC. There is a team of eight student workers who are truly dedicated to the success of newly admitted international students,” said Alissa Morson, Assistant Director of Strategic Recruitment and Communication at Kearney International Center. “They are constantly in touch with new students through emails, phone calls, WhatsApp and telegram messages. Once they are admitted they are constantly kept in touch on how to prepare for their visa interview, how to request for i20, and there are free visa prep sessions to prepare them.”
The International Center offers virtual meetings for enrolled students to help them with their classes and immigration information, as well as prepare all kinds of official documents related to work.
Morson added, “MSU offers an incredibly unique program called “Steps to Success”, which focuses on students who are facing academic trouble and having a hard time understanding course material. There are two college liaisons and a graduate assistant who focus directly on students with academic hardship and to help them set clear academic goals.”
“MSU is home to me for three years now,” said Mariana Dermenji, an international student from Moldova.
Dermenji pointed out how MSU helps their international students in various ways.
“MSU offers good scholarships for international students. We [the KIC] are very welcoming here and we are always willing to help those who are having a hard time adjusting,” Dermenji stated.
(Maddie Behrens/The Reporter)
Write to Radit Mahmud at Radit.Mahmud@mnsu.edu