Foreign lands become ‘home’

Shelley Blundell

International students find comforts on campus

Phi Tran, 23, is studying to become a registered nurse and hopes to become a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Air Force. She spends a lot of time at Barnes & Noble in San Jose, Calif.

Credit: Steve Schirra

The first day of class always holds many anxieties for new and returning Kent State students.

For international students, these anxieties can be far greater than many American students imagine.

However, there are many resources in and around the city of Kent available to international students that may help ease the transition into life in a new country.

The first and most essential stop for any international student is International Student and Scholar Services in Room 128 in Bowman Hall.

The hub of both information and communication between the Kent State community and its international students, ISSS offers a variety of resources, such as assisting non-immigrant students, scholars and faculty with state and federal regulations regarding visas and other extended stays in the United States.

“My experience with (ISSS) was extremely positive,” said Malte Blumberg, a German exchange student studying computer science and music.

“Everyone I spoke to was well-informed and very friendly — it all seems to be a good network, whereas my home university was chaotic.”

Another resource available to international students is the International Institute on 207 E. Tallmadge Ave. Offering classes such as English as a second language and computer skills, the International Institute has proved an invaluable resource to many international residents living in and around the Kent area. The institute’s Web site is

But, as many international students will tell you, a major factor that contributes to homesickness is food. Food evokes a positive reaction in many of us, but nothing makes one feel more at home than a fresh meal from one’s own home country.

While truly authentic international cuisine may be hard to find, there are places that import foodstuffs from various countries. Grocery stores, such as Acme on Main Street in Kent, feature a variety of foods from foreign countries.

Also, various restaurants around Kent, such as Henry Wahner’s on East Main Street, give Americans a taste of the “exotic” and, in the case of German natives, a taste of home.

Contact features reporter Shelley Blundell at [email protected].