Eight New International Students Attend Edinboro

Category:  News
Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 at 6:53 PM
Eight New International Students Attend Edinboro by Tracy Geibel
Edinboro University has welcomed eight new international students this spring semester. Edinboro is now home to over 100 international students from countries all around the world.

Edinboro University welcomed eight new international students to the campus at the start of the spring 2016 semester.

Last semester, the university had about 120 international students. Now as many have graduated, there are approximately 100.

“The spring semester usually has a lot less students come in,” Nicole Sandonato, graduate assistant in International Student Services, said. Julia Hellstern, who is from Stuttgart, Germany came to Edinboro to major in communication studies. She is also involved with the tennis team.

“I think Edinboro is a great university with a beautiful campus,” Hellstern said. “The professors and students are very friendly and help you whenever you need help. Since I first came here, I have always felt welcome.”

“In the beginning, I didn’t know anyone, but now I have a lot of really awesome friends at Edinboro. I really like living here, especially because I can combine studying and playing tennis.”

Bruno Borja, from Belo Horizonte, Brazil chose to study industrial and engineering administration away from his native country. Like Hellstern, Horizonte is also involved in tennis, and was the 2014 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) doubles champion.

“Studying at Edinboro, I have been able to learn more about my field of study while having the opportunity to improve my English and to come into contact with students from different cultures,” Borja said.

Farzad Jalali-Arts didn’t arrive at Edinboro University the same way many other international students do, but his English has also improved significantly by coming to America and studying at the university level.

“I have been here for 10 years now, but still I have problems with language,” Jalali-Arts said.

Originally from Iran, Jalali-Arts came to America with his family when he was 18 years old. He spent some time in California where he studied culinary arts, but ultimately came to Edinboro, where he knew other family members who already resided in the area, to study industrial and engineering administration.

His native language is Farsi, and he only studied English for a year or two before he moved.

“Americans are born into it, so you’re 18 years ahead of us by the time we get here,” he said.

In class, it can be difficult for Jalali-Arts to follow the lectures sometimes.

“It is very difficult because if you don’t understand one word or one syllable of one word, it doesn’t make sense, the whole thing,” he said. “Even for other students it’s hard, if you aren’t paying attention one minute it’s gone.”

He said that sometimes it means he will ask a question about something that was just covered. Even if he is giving a professor his full attention, he might miss something because of what he called a “lag.” The professor might ask him why he or she needs to restate the information, often giving him “that look.”

This “lag” is something that can affect how he takes tests, too. He often worries about running out of time.

“If it was in my first language, it would be much faster,” he said. “We have to read it, translate it in our minds, and then, understand it.”

The International Student Services office offers students any help they may need.

“We help the students transition from their home countries to here,” Sandonato said.

She will even personally counsel students who are academically or personally struggling with the transition.

“[And] I have a few students who will come to see me every once in a while,” Sandonato said. “We work on study habits and stuff like that.”

She worked in Colorado for some time as a speech therapist with many people who spoke Spanish before becoming the graduate assistant for the International Student Services office.

“Working with other cultures was familiar for me,” she said. “This was just expanding on my experience and gaining more knowledge. I’ve really enjoyed it.”

International students can register for ENGL 101 “College Writing Skills” or a different English class, ENGL 010 “Developmental Writing Skills,” a class created with these students in mind. The Writing Center, located in the Baron- Forness Library, is another resource for international students or any student for that matter.

Other information about mail services, employment, and the adjustment process is available at the university’s website. The International Student Services office is located on the second floor of the library, room 215. The office can be reached at (814) 732-2770 or international@edinboro.edu.

“This experience will be great for me when I go back home, since I will have something to distinguish myself from other professionals. That’s the most precious thing I’ll take back to Brazil,” Borja said about his experience as an international student.

Tracy Geibel is the Executive Editor for The Spectator and she can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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