by Rae McKee, Public Relations Writer
According to the New York Times, a study conducted by David L. Di Maria, director of international programs and services at Kent State University, found that 50 percent of the college staff respondents felt they were underprepared to work with international students and 64 percent felt they were doing nothing to accommodate the foreign student population.
Cedarville has experienced a different story since starting its international student program in 2013. The new program, headed by Brenda Reid, coordinator of international students, equips incoming international students for the difficult transition into American college life through an all-inclusive support system.
The program begins with an intensive freshman orientation, starting a week before the rest of the students come to campus in the fall. Orientation connects and develops the international community, explains the cultural transitions such as the cultural time shift and discusses the academic expectations for each student.
Freshmen and transfer students can then take a semester-long class that continues to help with adjustments to American culture and helps them develop better study skills as they transition from high school to college academics.
Throughout their four years, Reid acts as a second adviser for any social, academic, transportation and relationship support. Reid believes that having a specific contact point for students to contact helps enable confidence and independence.
“We want to be fully accessible so that we can come alongside them as they solve issues before they become bigger problems,” said Reid. “Through this proactive support program, we’ve enabled our students to thrive socially and academically because they know they have someone to come to should the situation arise.”
Enoch Jayasundara, senior information technology major from Sri Lanka, has been able to witness the international program’s influence since the beginning.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at Cedarville immensely because it is a school that loves God, and its administrators do everything they can to show that,” said Jayasundara. “Through the administration and the international program, we’ve been able to build a great community with the entire campus and grow in our faith together.”
In addition to administrative assistance, international students can participate in two major student organizations that focus on fostering community within their group. Mu Kappa is a cross-cultural service organization and MISO is an international student organization, both of which serve as a student-created resource during their time at Cedarville.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.