Creating a home away from home

The front of the International Student and Scholar Center. (Kennedy Camarena/ The Signpost)

Being an international student has its own set of challenges. At Weber State University, there are great resources to help our international students.

Weber State’s International Student and Scholar Center is a resource for incoming international students. They offer advice and help incoming students find their way through student visa processes.

Amy Teal-Whitney, a Weber State medical laboratory sciences and health administration graduate from Southampton, England, recommends reaching out to the International Student Scholar Center for any help international students may need.

“They have a step-by-step guide for incoming students, for continuing students, and once you’re here, they will meet with you all the time,” Teal-Whitney said. “They helped me get my OPT once I graduated to work for a year after I finished school. So the website is great and answers loads of questions.”

The Scholar Center provides help with finding work for their students on campus, setting up appointments with the Social Security office to get temporary social security cards and more.

It can be common for international students to feel alone. However, many resources for international students to get the help they need can be found at the center and on campus.

Student Lachlan Burns from Melbourne, Australia, wants students to know they are not alone and can take their time to adjust in the ways they need to.

“I wish I hadn’t let myself get so stressed,” Burns said. “When I first got here, I just didn’t make time for essential things, you know, ‘I can catch up on this.’ I was trying to do everything at once. I wasn’t eating because I was just like, I have to get this assignment done, and all this stuff, which wasn’t actually that much of a priority.”

Adjusting to school in the states can be difficult, but for most international students, it is easier schooling than expected. Both Burns and Teal-Whitney described American schools as an “easier education.”

Rather than having 60-80 page projects, Burns had assignments that only lasted an hour.

Teal-Whitney compared U.S. grading systems to the UK’s, saying that instead of a final grade being dependent on two major exams, homework was distributed evenly throughout the semester with an exam only holding a weight of around 50% of the total grade.

For those that are not familiar with American schooling and wish for further help, Weber State’s International Student Scholar Center hired a peer mentoring staff specifically for international students.

Burns was appointed one of the mentors and had the opportunity to help an international student.

“I think that it was the same with all of the other people who got the same position that I did,” Burns said. “They only ended up having one or two kids that needed help and everyone saw improvements just by being there as a resource for it.”

International student mentoring will be returning this fall semester. It is a free resource that can help students adapt to student life at Weber State. There are many spots to fill and many mentors willing to help.

Weber State doesn’t only have great resources for their students, but it is conveniently close to an international airport. For international students wanting/needing to get home quickly, the airport is located only 40 minutes from the university.

“When I first arrived here, the International Office arranged transport to get me from the airport to the dorms,” Teal-Whitney said.

To find out more information about Weber State’s International Student and Scholar Center, visit their website on Weber’s homepage.