The Importance of International Students' Involvement
Getting involved is considered to be one of the most important things you can do while in college. Being active on campus helps incoming international students adjust better to the new country they are in and build useful skills to apply to future careers.
Joining clubs and organizations is an important part of the college experience. Students get the opportunity to join different clubs and organizations.
Eron Memaj, the director of international student affairs, said it’s beneficial for international students to be involved in clubs and organizations.
“It is very important as this will provide an opportunity for them to connect with other students who have similar interests outside the classroom,” Memaj said. “Getting involved in student organizations helps international students better acclimate to American culture. It also helps international students to develop a sense of belonging and develop leadership skills.”
Clubs and organizations can give you an opportunity to develop and build certain skills you may not learn in class. Students usually join organizations to pursue individual interests, get career networking opportunities or to just have fun and meet new people.
“Students can find out about different student organization by visiting the Center of Student Involvement website. There are many student organizations listed at https://www.kent.edu/csi/student-organizations,” Memaj said. “I would also recommend that students consider joining International Student Council, which is the organization that represents all international students. ISC organizes many cultural events throughout the year.”
The university strongly encourages international students to get involved as much as they can on campus to help them enrich their college experience, but they also need to focus on class.
“Students should be involved as much as they want to. However, they also need to make sure that they use their time wisely and be able to balance extracurricular activities and academics,” Memaj said.
International students can visit the Center for Student Involvement and meet an Involvement Expert who can help and inform about different ways to get involved. International students bring so much to Kent State, and the university tries to provide everything that a student may need.
“International students are a major component of Kent State’s diverse human fabric,” Memaj said. “International students bring different cultures, different experiences and knowledge from which we can all benefit from. International students are the steel bridges that connect Kent State to the rest of the world.”
Being involved can open the door for great friendships and new networking opportunities. Clubs and organizations can allow you to branch out and meet people outside of your immediate social circle and students will get to interact with other students from different backgrounds.
Cross cultural interaction is the communication between people who are different in age, nationality, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. It also refers to the cultural differences like language, gestures and body language. It’s how people communicate with each other.
“It is evident more than ever that we live in a global society and everyone is more connected than ever before,” Memaj said. “I believe it is imperative for both international and domestic students to develop global cultural competency skills and can develop these skills through cross-cultural interactions.”
What do international students need to know about Kent State?
“International students need to know that Kent State is a very welcoming place and this is a place that they can call home,” Memaj said. “If they have any questions, feel free to ask faculty, staff, advisors, and administrators as we are all here to help and make sure that they have a great experience.”
Article written by Sara Al Harthi