Opportunities available for international liberal arts students

International students attend the College of the Liberal Arts welcome event on Aug. 18. Credit: Emilee Spokus / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — International students in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State have a variety of opportunities to get involved with the college and University.

Nimisha Thakur is an academic adviser in the college who works primarily with international students. Her work has led to a number of community building and professional development events for students.

“My own experiences as an international student have helped me relate with the incoming international students and identify with their challenges,” said Thakur. "The College of the Liberal Arts understands their unique challenges and is there to support each of them in their academic journey as a liberal arts student. With my role as an academic adviser, I hope to help students make meaning of their life experiences and prepare them for life after college.”

Below are descriptions of upcoming events for international students in the College of the Liberal Arts. To learn more, visit

The welcome party takes place a few days before the start of the semester and is an informal meet and greet for incoming freshman international freshman students, transfer students, and some returning students in the college. During this event students get to meet their peers, upperclassmen, advisers, and Paul Taylor, the associate dean for undergraduate studies. Students play games to learn about one another and are given the opportunity to talk to advisers if they have any questions. The event culminates with snacks from around the world.

Another opportunity for international students to connect with other liberal arts students is through a mentor program called Liberal Arts Students Helping Students (LASHS). This program aims to help with the transition of the incoming freshman international students in their academic life, integration to the community, life outside of the classes, and knowledge of resources available. In this program a first-year student is paired with an upperclassman from the college, where they learn from each other. To learn more about this semester-long program, contact Thakur at

The “How to Succeed at Penn State” workshop series is a yearlong series hosted by the College of the Liberal Arts, which happens on the second Wednesday of every month during the fall and spring semesters from 12:15-1:15 p.m. These workshops are primarily aimed at first-year students in the college, but all international students are welcome to attend. The purpose of these workshops is to help international students learn about the major differences in higher education from their host nations. It also provides them with the tools to navigate the U.S. higher education system, as well succeed academically and socially in their new environment. Below are the “How to Succeed at Penn State” workshops offered this fall.

Higher Education in the United States

Sept. 14

Speaker: Elena Galinova, director of the Language Institute, College of the Liberal Arts

This workshop will highlight the key differences in higher education in the United States from international students' host nations. In addition, it will look at the importance of general education classes and highlight academic freedom.

Professionalism and Integrity in College and Beyond

Oct. 12

Speaker: Deryn Verity, director of ESL programs, College of the Liberal Arts

This workshop is focused on the meaning of plagiarism in the American higher education system. It will help students identify the variety of academic infractions students most often commit, the consequences, and ways to avoid plagiarism.

Build Your Resume & Get Involved on Campus

Nov. 9

Speaker: Jeff Zapletal, program coordinator, Student Activities

This workshop will help international students learn about life outside the classroom and various activities and student organizations that international students can join to develop their leadership skills. This workshop was organized with the idea that out-of-classroom development plays a huge role in American higher education, which is very different from other countries.

Last Updated August 19, 2016