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OHIO welcomes international students to campus following pandemic challenges

Published: October 21, 2021 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University is home to students, faculty, and staff from across the globe. This year, 330 new international students from 65 countries have made their way to Ohio and joined our University community.

In total, OHIO has 993 international students from 112 countries enrolled. This includes 276 undergraduate and 717 graduate students.

On September 28, President Hugh Sherman hosted a reception welcoming new international students to the campus community.

“I enjoyed meeting with new Bobcats from around the globe at the welcome reception,” President Sherman said. “Our international students add so much to our diversity of cultures and perspectives. We are proud they have chosen to study at OHIO, and we are committed to their success.”

Prior to the start of the semester, incoming students participated in a vibrant International Student Orientation (ISO), hosted by International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS). These orientation sessions offer a wide range of critical information such as academic support, University culture, and special events designed to help the students acclimate quickly and provide a sense of belonging.

Additionally, following the needs assessment of international students conducted by the Globalizing the Campus Committee of the University International Council, ISFS has implemented numerous updates to address the feedback from the students including enhancing available information and resources

 “Due to the pandemic impact on consular offices, flight availability, and quarantine needs, about one-third of our students arrived after the start of orientation. For those that participated in-person, there was great excitement to be back with other students. I don’t think any of us realized how much we had missed that engagement,” Director of International Services and Operations Diane Cahill said. “For Fall, we implemented small, focused group interactions, step-by-step hiring processing for graduate students with appointments, and a more collaborative Social Security card process with the Athens Social Security office. We want our students to feel settled after orientation and to fill their student toolbox with resources to fall back on as the challenges of the semester come, before walking into class on day one.”

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, OHIO’s international students have experienced and navigated many challenges such as border closures and travel restrictions, immigration restrictions, visa delays, and financial difficulties. Spearheaded by the International Student Task Force and ISFS, OHIO and Athens community members and organizations have demonstrated incredible commitment and support for the international students through the International Student Emergency Relief FundJoann B. Stedman International Student Grant Fund, food security relief efforts, and community crowdfunding engagement.

The arrival of new and returning international students shows their resilience and dedication to have robust academic experiences at OHIO.         

“It is all in the pursuit of knowledge. Arriving here in Athens, there were many things to settle – new place, new culture – and it takes time to learn and feel comfortable,” said Navin Prakash Bhatt, incoming graduate student from Nepal studying English. “But, I selected Ohio University because of the scholarship, rankings, the research going on with professors in my field – all of this suited my academic goals. The professors in my department are very supportive too. Ohio University is very beautiful, but especially the people make it a very nice atmosphere.” Like many international students, he underwent visa and flight delays before coming to OHIO.

“Our international students have navigated many hurdles to get here and we are thrilled to welcome them. Their presence enriches our living and learning community at OHIO,” Interim Executive Director for Global Affairs Ji-Yeung Jang said. “It is everyone’s job to foster a welcoming environment where international students feel at home and enjoy equity and inclusion at all levels.”

For any questions regarding international students, contact International Student and Faculty Services at isfs@ohio.edu.

For those who are interested in making a gift for international students, please click here.