International Students and Scholars Welcomed at University’s Luncheon

International Students and Scholars Welcomed at Universitys Luncheon

As one of the most diverse universities in the United States, St. John’s enjoys a yearly influx of international students and scholars from all over the world who come here to call the University their second home. With an increasing demand for programs to help international students adapt to new environments, the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), a division of the Department of Student Affairs, organized a luncheon to welcome the students to St. John’s on Sept. 5.

Accompanied by their peer mentors, new international students were introduced to a vast majority of resources on campus available to them. Most of these resources aim to help smooth out the students’ acculturation process. Ms. Rosa Yen, Director of Multicultural Affairs, encouraged the students to make use of these resources as much as possible. Academic deans, professors and administrators from various departments were also present to welcome the students and to give advice to students on how to get the most from the comprehensive resources offered by St. John’s.

After giving a short presentation on the history of the program, Ms. Yen introduced the students to extracurricular activities offered this semester, one of which was the English Language Table (ELT). Once international students sign up for ELT, they will be paired with a native English speaker to improve their language skills. Moreover, both American and international students will benefit from this cultural exchange as they communicate and learn from each other’s cultures and traditions.

Truc Nguyen, a senior marketing major, encouraged his fellow international students to take advantage of the programs offered by OMA. “As an international student you have to learn about the American culture in order to adapt, no matter what you’re studying for your major, and sometimes that can be hard,” said Nguyen. Once a mentee in Project A.I.M. (Asian & International Mentoring Program), he is now an intern and recalls how Project A.I.M. helped him overcome the culture shock. “I love going to the Full Moon Festival and the New Year Celebration every year because they help me with my homesickness. Now in my final year I want to get more involved as an intern to give back,” said Nguyen.

At the luncheon, moon cakes were served.  They are a signature bakery product which originated in China, but are also used in many Asian countries such as Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, etc. during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Ms. Yen explained that because it is the time of year when students begin the semester, which is very close to this major festival for many Asian students, she wanted to give them a taste from their home countries. The students shared the cakes with each other as a community at St. John’s, now their second home.

International and American students are encouraged to check out OMA’s Facebook and Twitter pages to receive updates about events and programs and how they can get involved.