Students decide to have an international component to education

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Taylor Meade

International students can get a taste of education at an American institution, without the four-year commitment, through Kent State exchange programs.

The National Student Exchange program (NSE) provides opportunities for undergraduate students to study for one semester or one academic year at another NSE member college or university, according to the Kent State website.

Megan Raymond, an international exchange student from England, said that she prefers the degree structure back home in England.

“We only study classes for our major (in England),” Raymond said. “Instead, I’m getting a master’s degree in four years rather than a bachelor’s in four and then doing a master’s afterwards.”

Raymond, who is a chemistry major in her home country, said that she was given five university options by her British university and was told to rank each based on which ones she liked best.

She said she looked at each university’s website to see what was near by for traveling.

“I quite liked the idea of going to places like Canada as well, which is why I chose Kent,” Raymond said.

Since attending Kent State, she said she was able to meet up with other students studying abroad and was able to travel around the east coast. She said she also plans to travel to California over spring break.

Raymond also had the chance to explore a different aspect of college life in America by joining Chi Omega.

“We don’t have anything remotely similar in England,” Raymond said. “It’s been a really good experience to get involved, and I’ve really enjoyed that.”

Jose Vanegas Torres, an international exchange student from El Salvador, said his exchange program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, chose Kent State for him.

“We (he and other students) applied to it, and they try to find the best college according to your major and profile,” Vanegas Torres said.

Vanegas Torres, an industrial engineering major in his home country, said he has gotten experience with his major through an internship with AlphaMicron, Inc. in Kent.

He said the internship is a lot of work, but at the same time, it’s a good experience. He has been working on quality control and research development to ensure that there’s continuous development of new products.

Vanegas Torres said he was fortunate enough to have high enough English proficiency skills allowing him to take undergraduate classes.

Ryan Fleming, a senior international student scholar adviser, said international students who attend Kent State for a short-term exchange program often study English as a second language (ESL) before starting their undergraduate classes.

“Occasionally a student will have a higher level of English, and they end up testing out (of ESL),” Fleming said.

If a student is in ESL his or her fall semester and then released from it for the spring, Fleming said that he or she can apply as a non-degree seeking student and take undergraduate classes and get some different coursework options than what ESL offers.

Exchange programs allow students to study without the time or money commitment the degree-seeking students in the United States might have, Fleming said.

“It’s better for me to just do a year here and get my degree back home,” Raymond said. “But at this point, I really don’t want to go home.”

Contact Taylor Meade at [email protected].