January 14, 2016 2:15PM
Zhanar Raspek is more than 6,000 miles from her home in Kazakhstan, and although she’s been at Pittsburg State University only a little over a week, she’s already settling in.
“Everyone in the International Office has been so friendly and so helpful,” Raspek said as students from all over the globe popped in and out of the office with questions, paperwork to complete and first-week assignments in hand.
This is Raspek’s first time in the U.S., but she says she already likes it and she’s enthusiastic about her studies as an international business major. She’s even taking Spanish, to add to the Kazakh, Russian and English that she learned at home.
Stephanie Gonzalez, international programming coordinator in PSU’s Office of International Programs and Services, said about 140 new international students have arrived on campus for the spring semester. PSU has more than 500 international students on campus from more than 40 countries around the globe.
Gonzalez said the new international students had orientation to the campus and the community the week before classes began. During that time, the new students were given a variety of presentations to help them adjust to life in a new culture. That included shopping trips.
“I think the thing that students were most thankful for were the hot meals hosted every evening by our generous community partners, and two hot lunches, which were sponsored by the Opolis United Methodist Church and the International Office,” Gonzales said.
A new tradition that the office started last spring and continued this year was a soup dinner at the beginning of orientation.
“Members of our staff and several persons from the community prepare soups and breads and we all share a meal together in Whitesitt Hall,” Gonzalez said. “I like to think that it's a cozy way for students to start their stays here when it's so cold outside.”