Over one million international students studied in the U.S. in 2018, and Northeastern State University is a temporary home for some of them.
The NSU Office of International Programs and the Tahlequah student body are marking International Education Week, Nov. 18-22, with a variety of events.
Currently, about 170 international students and scholars from 30 different countries are at NSU, according to Yen Li, international student adviser and programs coordinator. Students come from Saudi Arabia, China, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Canada, Japan, Ethiopia, Germany, and more.
Yen Li said the international students receive support from all departments and organizations on campus.
"More than that, the Office of International Programs also sponsors our International Student Organization at NSU for our international students to share the international cultures through various cultural activities and to help promote the global awareness of our campus community," said Yen Li. "Also, ISO provides a supportive environment and helps ease the process of adaptation for newly coming international students."
This week, the Office of International Programs is offering free teas and coffees in a different location each day. The drinks include Chinese tea, Indian chai latte, Thai tea, Japanese milk tea, and Vietnamese and Arabic coffees. From 9 a.m. to noon, the stations will be set up in the following locations the rest of the week: Wednesday, Bagley Hall; Thursday, Science Building; and Friday, Office of International Programs, John Vaughan Library, Room 121.
"In past years, we hosted events in our office. Now it's all around campus," said Xuan Li, instructional coordinator for Asian programs. "During the breaks in class, the students stop by, ask some questions, and get some coffee or tea."
Information about study abroad programs and events for international students are available, as well as the opportunity to spin a wheel and answer questions for chances to win T-shirts, bags, stickers, and more.
Other events this week include a Celebrate Diwali with ISO event Monday, an NSU WAH Club Pho Night fundraiser on Tuesday night, an International Baking Contest on Wednesday afternoon, and a movie night on Friday.
Maddi Rogers, an Office of International Programs student worker and event coordinator, attended the Diwali celebration, which is a Hindu festival of lights.
"NSU has a couple of Indian professors, mainly in business and technology, and it was cool to learn about their culture and why they celebrate Diwali," said Rogers, who has been to India twice on mission trips with the NSU Baptist Collegiate Ministry. "We probably gave out about 30 henna tattoos. We lit candles all around and it was beautiful."
Pho are traditional Vietnamese noodles, and the We Are Hmong group shared information about the dish and the Hmong culture Tuesday.
All students, faculty and staff were invited to enter the baking contest, as well as to sample the entries on Wednesday, 1-2 p.m., in the Office of International Programs.
"Dangal" will be shown Friday at 7 p.m. in the UC Redbud Room. It is the story of the "former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat and his two wrestler daughters who struggle toward glory at the Commonwealth Games in the face of societal oppression."
Xuan Li came to NSU from China in 2011, and after getting his master's degree, he was offered a job. He always enjoys hearing from the international students on campus, as well as the students who study abroad.
"When I talk with different international students, they always say people here are really nice and friendly. They don't feel discrimination," said Xuan Li.
Some students come to Tahlequah through specific programs or partner universities. NSU is the only school in Oklahoma to work with International Student Exchange Program, according to Xuan Li.
"NSU provides our international students a traditional college experience where a rich history meets modern technology all over our beautiful campus," said Yen Li. "With affordable tuition, our international students can achieve their educational goals in a high-quality, friendly and safe environment."
Chiara Carnelutti is a sophomore from Argentina who plays on the NSU Tennis team. She said her time at NSU has been amazing. "I like all the events they have to integrate all the international students," said Carnelutti. "I feel like I'm at home."