Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus welcomed five new international students to the campus this fall, bringing a total of nine students from around the world. The new students include Xing Gao from Beijing, China; Sul Gi “Athena” Han from Seoul, South Korea; Malavika “Monica” Mathur from Bangkok, Thailand; Anisha Nayak from Kuwait City, Kuwait; and Mingxun Wang from China.
Brian Fernandes, director of student and enrollment services, says, “Having international students as part of the Penn State Fayette campus community is a prominent learning advantage for other students, faculty, staff and the community at-large because everyone can interact and become familiar with a world outside of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Our international students bring a wealth of culture and world experience to share with the campus and community, beyond what can be taught in a classroom setting, and these are important in our growing world.”
International student Monica Mathur said Penn State Fayette suits her perfectly because she likes the smaller classroom and the quiet campus atmosphere. She heard about the campus from fellow students and teachers in Thailand. “The culture is a lot different here as compared to Thailand, since the city there is huge and always busy. People here are very talkative and friendly, so I have felt welcomed since I arrived. I have made friends so fast at Penn State Fayette, but in Thailand you have to be careful who to talk to since there is a major trust factor there.” But not everything has been easy for her. “The biggest difference for me is the language,” she said.
“There are just some differences in vocabulary that have confused, me but I have learned how they are used here and I am working on mastering it.” Mathur is studying electrical engineering, is involved in THON, and the Women in Science and Engineering Technology club.
Anisha Nayak, another international student, was surprised when she arrived at Penn State Fayette to see how green and quiet the campus was. “In Kuwait everything is so dull colored and always loud, but here it is so bright and green. We have trees, but nothing like here. People just plant real trees wherever they feel like.” After speaking with a couple of friends from Kuwait who also attend Penn State about how nice it is, Nayak decided it would be a perfect fit for her, too. Since being in the United States, she has had the chance to travel to University Park, Pittsburgh, New York City, and parts of New Jersey. Nayak is studying economics and finance, is part of THON, the Lion Players, and the business club.
Susan Crampton-Frenchik, the campus’ French instructor and coordinator of the International and Intercultural Programs Office, helps to ease the new students into the campus community and establishes an ongoing relationship with returning students. “As we share discussions on cultural traditions, favorite foods, and the importance of family and friends, we all embrace the broader notion of diversity. In this increasingly interconnected world, we are all global citizens. It is an honor to grow with these international students.”
Fernandes adds, “In the future, we look forward to opportunities available to recruit more international students from around the world who are looking to take the next step in furthering their education at Penn State Fayette."
Penn State is the university of choice for more than 3,500 international students. Penn State Fayette is one of eight Penn State campuses, in addition to University Park, with the services in place to admit students from other countries.