INTERNATIONAL STUDENT GUIDE 2016
Office serves international students By Grace Palmieri firstname.lastname@example.org @grace_palmieri
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With the new school year comes IU’s newest class of around 1,500 international students. The Office of International Services helps these students not only with academic advising, but with adapting to an unfamiliar environment. The Indiana Daily Student sat down with Rendy Schrader, IU’s director of student and scholar advising, to talk about the upcoming year and the services provided to international students. Schrader graduated from IU with degrees in political science and French. After spending 16 years in Washington, D.C. working with the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs, she returned to Bloomington, the place she said she feels most at home. IDS: What kind of help/ services does the Office of International Services provide? Schrader: I think if we want to put it in two words it’s immigration assistance and engagement opportunities. But to expand beyond that, it’s making sure that they meet all the federal requirements international students have to make. And that they’re aware of what those regulations are so they can use them to their advantage, to work in the United States and get as much experience as possible. In terms of the student engagement, it’s kind of a dual approach. One is making it easy for them to celebrate their own culture and being proud of who they are, but also looking for increasing opportunities for them to engage with U.S. students — and just feel like they’re fully part of the university community. It’s that fine balance of helping them be themselves and yet not be separate.
IDS: What do you think is the biggest challenge for students coming in the U.S. for the ﬁrst time? Schrader: There are classroom adjustments. Most of the systems outside of the U.S. operate differently. There’s not as much student engagement, there’s not as much original thought encouraged. It’s more memorization and recitation. I think that’s a big challenge academically. Socially, I think it’s really becoming sort of a part of this culture without losing your own. So how do we make it so they’re not just hanging out with their friends, but they’re making American friends and learning American culture? Help them find where their comfort level is with that. IDS: What’s the hardest part of this job for you in helping them adapt? Schrader: For me, it’s keeping up with the latest trends and social media. How do we reach the students in ways that they respect and enjoy? IDS: With the incoming class arriving on campus in just a few weeks, is this your busiest time of year? Schrader: I feel like it’s always busy. Beginnings and ends of the semester are the busiest. There’s a flurry of activity in November for international education week and the world’s fair, which really keeps us hopping. But it’s anytime there’s transitions. IDS: In your 15 years here at IU, what is your favorite part of the job? Schrader: It has to be the students — just watching their excitement and their growth in bringing their culture to the U.S. I feel like we’re doing the whole university a service by bringing that diversity and exposure to world issues and thinking outside the American box. Just being able to facilitate that and make that work for everybody is really rewarding.
The Office of International Services helps students with advising and adapting to a new environment.
Safety campaign — Office of International Services By Grace Palmieri email@example.com @grace_palmieri
IU’s Office of International Services is launching a campaign to increase safety awareness on campus for international students. The campaign was created in response to the death of IU student Yaolin Wang, who was allegedly assaulted by her boyfriend last fall. Rendy Schrader, director of student and scholar advising, said the campaign is to honor Wang’s memory and to prevent any future violence. “In the investigation surrounding her case, and in conversations with international student leaders, we learned that international students were either unaware of campus resources available to them
or unable to overcome cultural barriers to use them,” Schrader said. There are several ways the office is trying to make campus life safer for international students through the new campaign. All new international students will receive a phone pocket with a resource card inside. In a few weeks, they are releasing a safety video for new students, Schrader said, and many of them will participate in this year’s international student arrival week. The office is working with other groups, including IUPD, and international student leaders to help improve safety. “We are working with IUPD to make sure international students feel an increased level of comfort around them,”
Schrader said. A standing committee has been established in order to continue their mission throughout the coming years. Every year, IU also celebrates International Education Week in November. Events include films at the IU Cinema, a concert at the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, a martial arts festival put on by IU’s recreational sports and more Nov. 7-11. The week ends with the 10th Annual World’s Fare, a one-night event where international students can showcase their culture with booths, performances and food, Schrader said. “We are encouraging all university units to hot activities that week to celebrate the diversity international students bring to campus,” she said.
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