International students say farewell

Campus Times
April 30, 1999


photo by Naoko Yokota

When stressed with their studies, international students Miki Shibuya, from Yokohama, Japan, and Chenelle Lin, from Taiwan, dance in the Oaks Hall. Shibuya, a sophomore, is an Environmental Biology major with two years left of school in the states. Lin will be graduating in May with a master's in Health Administration and Gerontology.

by Summer L. Douglass
Staff Writer

With the academic year coming to an end, international students are finishing a semester that has been filled with challenges and new experiences.

"One thing I learned is the difference in the way people think and express themselves here, in comparison to where I come from," said Wedyana Moelijono, from Indonesia. "Self-expression is very important because if you don't have the courage to express yourself, people will not get to know you."

Moelijono will be graduating this May with her master's degree in international management and finance.

The International Student Organization has built a program that has been successful in dealing with international students' needs.

Marcy Garcia, administrative assistant in the ISO, is in contact with each student before they arrive in the country.

Garcia's responsibilities include making sure that each student has the proper papers, passports and visas so overseas traveling will be an easy transition.

When students arrive in the United States, Garcia picks them up at the local airport and ensures that their accommodations are comfortable.

The international students have a two-day orientation. They are able to meet the faculty and other students. The ISO has also implemented a mentor/mentee program. In this program, each student from another country is assigned to a mentor on campus, who is there to help these students adjust to campus life.

In addition to this program, Garcia is the adviser of the ISO. This group tries to deal with the culture shock that some students may experience from being away from home and to promote intercultural understanding.

"Around October, some students begin to get homesick," said Garcia. This program offers students an opportunity to come together and share their expectations, fears and questions regarding life in a different culture.

ISO also gives the students a chance to see some of the most popular sites of Southern California. Field trips are a large part of this group. Disneyland, Hollywood, Las Vegas and various beaches are a few of the students favorite vacation spots.

The main event that the ISO office prepares for all year is the Spring Multicultural Fair. This event gives the students a chance to show the rest of the school a little bit of what their culture is like with traditional food and dress attire.

This tradition began nine years ago with the participation of other organizations.

Students are encouraged to set up booths representing their countries and dress in their native attire. Other activities include dancing and singing traditional songs.

The international students' year ends with a farewell reception that takes place in May before the graduation ceremony.

The number of International students that will be graduating this May total more than 30. The majority of international graduates this year are from Asia.