Kent recruits internationally

Allison Smith

University benefits from foreign students

Student assistant and junior industrial technology major Sneha Jose, from India, works in the Office of International Affairs in Van Campen Hall. Brittany Ankrom | Summer Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Throughout the last year, Provost Robert Frank has been traveling abroad to recruit more international students to attend Kent State. He said he has taken numerous trips overseas because the university has been trying to grow the international student population.

Mary Anne Saunders, executive director of the office of international affairs, said this year, Kent State admitted 527 undergraduate international students for the fall semester, compared with 232 international students admitted last year. But, she said, just because they have been admitted doesn’t mean they won’t change their minds.

“Now, we can’t guarantee those people are coming,” Saunders said. “The yield rate may be different, but that’s the numbers.”

Kent State already has relationships with Chinese and Saudi Arabian universities. Saunders said there are a large number of Chinese students at Kent State right now, and a majority of the international students in the fall will be Chinese. She said the Chinese are interested in having a relationship with Kent State to expand their horizons.

“Chinese culture is very often based on relationships,” Saunders said. “So it’s been our pleasure to develop these relationships with specific universities with whom we have close ties.”

There are many ways for international students to pursue a degree at Kent State. Chinese students tend to go three years at a university in China and two years at Kent State. While they are here, they are finishing their senior year and beginning the first year of a master’s program in the same school year.


Hospitality Program

This program gives international students a better opportunity to experience American culture in a non-university setting by allowing them to interact with American families. It will help them learn firsthand about culture in the United States.

Serve as a local friend for international students by inviting them to:

• Enjoy an occasional meal

• Celebrate holidays

• Participate in community events

• Engage in conversation

To get involved, contact the Office of International Affairs at 330-672-7980.

“At the end of the fifth year, now, we assume there will be summer courses as well. They can actually have a bachelor’s from their home institution and a master’s from Kent State. That seems to be a popular model,” Saunders said.

Other countries prominently represented at Kent State are Nepal, Japan, India and South Korea. Saunders said the university is looking to increase the number of Indian and Chinese students.

Frank said there are limitations on how many Chinese students Kent State can admit because of the international experience their parents want them to have.

“Chinese don’t like to see more than 50 percent of the international students be Chinese because they’re looking for that broadening experience, too, so they don’t want to go somewhere where all the international population is Chinese,” Frank said.

Saunders said if there are too many students of one culture, they tend to only interact with other students from their country and become more reluctant to integrate.

She said she experienced firsthand how the number of Chinese students at Kent State already impacts the desire for other Chinese students to attend.

“I went to a recruiting expo there, just to see what it was like, and a parent came up to ask questions,” Saunders said. “Her third question was, ‘How many Chinese students go to Kent State?’ And we told her, and she said ‘OK, that’s good, it’s not too many.'”

International students are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or the TOEFL. Saunders said if the student doesn’t do well the first time, he or she could still be admitted conditionally. The student would have to take English as a Second Language classes and then take the TOEFL again, Saunders said. She said if they don’t pass, then they have to go home.

Saunders said there is a process that international students have to go through to get into the country.

“They have to provide valid transcripts,” Saunders said. “That’s just to be considered eligible for applying for a visa. Then they have to try and get the visa, and the visa, of course, will necessitate a lot of different steps that are dictated by (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) and by the Department of Homeland Security.”

Sneha Jose is a junior industrial technology major and an international student from India. She said international students have to do a lot of research about schools in order to know the requirements.

“We send all our transcripts, and we have reference letters, we have resumes, you know, stuff like that. We send it to the university, and they evaluate it according to the U.S. credentials and accept or deny accordingly,” Jose said. “Most people apply online because it’s just easier and faster.”

Jose said after she got her acceptance letter, they asked her for her parents’ bank statements to make sure she had enough money to pay for the university and live in the United States. She said international students don’t really get financial aid.

“They prepared an I-20 form, which is our immigration document that Kent State sends to us, and then we take that and set up appointments at the closest U.S. Embassy,” Jose said. “Then we’re called for an interview at the embassy and they just ask us multiple questions and then they grant us a visa.”

Jose said she first heard about Kent State through an advertisement she received in her e-mail. She said she decided on Kent State because it was within her budget and had the program she wanted.

Overall, Saunders said, having international students at Kent State is beneficial for Americans and students from other countries.

“Having international students here helps both the international students and the domestic students because it broadens everyone’s views,” Saunders said.

“In conversations with students in classes, to have international students bring up examples from their own cultures that may be different from American students’ examples, helps both cultures understand one another in more depth.”

Contact principal reporter Allison Smith at [email protected].