Tag: International Students

Lawrence’s international students come together to share first-year advice

International House

Story by Valeria Nunez Herdoiza ’22

Starting college brings a lot of emotions as you get ready to start a new chapter. It’s new, exciting, and, yes, a little nerve-wracking, too.

It’s that way for everyone, but all of those feelings are heightened if the transition also involves moving to a new country and adapting to a new culture. To help incoming international students focus on the fun parts and ease some of the stress that comes with adventuring into the unknown, the international community at Lawrence has come together to offer tips, advice, and what we wish we had known during our first year. 

Moeka Kamiya ’22 

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan 

Major: Neuroscience and Psychology  

Bring your I-20 with you: The first time I entered the United States, I did not bring it with me, since I misunderstood that I only need the visa in the passport. So, I had to go to an office at the airport and wait for more than an hour. This is not something you want you experience! 

Plan to shop for college supplies once you arrive at Lawrence:  I was so worried and nervous about moving to a new country, so I purchased the college bedding sets that include some unnecessary storage and extra sheets and a thick winter jacket that I could buy way cheaper here. It’s not too late to purchase those things after you get here. 

Know and cherish your background: Do not feel like you need to change in order to fit in. If you experience culture shock, which is normal and might happen, do not hesitate to use the counseling services in the Wellness Center and communicate about it with people.  

 Juan Felipe ’22 

Hometown: Quito, Ecuador  

Major: Computer Science and Film Studies 

Buy winter wear: Winter in Appleton is very rough, and you will need a good jacket and boots to withstand the cold. The worst mistake I ever made when coming to Lawrence University was not having a good pair of winter boots.  

Always make sure you use the academic resources: Getting used to the American education system can be hard, especially as an international student that comes from a completely different educational background. If you struggle with learning in classes, make sure to use the resources available on campus like the Center for Academic Success, International Student Services and even tutoring services.  

Barrah Kunaan Shamoon ’22 

Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan  

Major: Global Studies and Spanish 

The best place to get groceries in Appleton: Woodman’s has good deals and savings as well as international food aisles. If you ever want to cook your own food, this is the place to go! Appleton also has a Hispanic market called Quinto Sol and an Asian market called Asian Taste

Explore Appleton during the warmer months: Spend as much time as possible in the fall and spring terms exploring the parks and small businesses nearby. In the winter, it will be a lot harder because of the colder temperatures.   

Anny Dai ’21 

Hometown: Shanghai, China 

Major: Film Studies and Mathematics 

Figure out how to work your health care plan: We all get sick sometimes, and the U.S. health care system is complicated. The Wellness Center on campus can help you with most health care questions; you also can call your health care company with specific questions.   

Go to office hours: Talk to your professors, don’t be shy!It is in our favor that LU has a great student-faculty ratio. They will help you figure out majors, give you career advice, and share information about topics you might find interesting.  

Wilson Chen ’22 

Hometown: Xi’an, China 

Major: Biochemistry 

Do some of the First-Year Studies reading beforehand: For some international students, it takes longer to finish the readings since they are not in our native languages and the English level might be a bit harder. Therefore, if you can start early, it will make the first term at Lawrence way less stressful.   

Make friends and network: Your college friends, besides being your emotional support at Lawrence, will also keep you updated about events and academic opportunities. Volunteering, joining clubs, and participating in events is probably the best way to meet people on campus.  

Jamie Dong ’22  

Hometown: Zhuhai, China 

Major: Film Studies and Studio Art  

Every assignment and daily homework matters: Back in China, weekly homework or participation does not count into the final grade for a course; the only grade we normally receive is from the exam. However, courses here (at least the ones I have taken) have different components that are graded and count toward your final grade.   

Don’t be afraid to talk: In classes, especially in First-Year Studies, it is in your best interest to contribute to the class discussions; professors want to hear your thoughts and know that you are thinking about the material.  

Ramisha Mahiyat ’22  

Hometown: Dhaka, Bangladesh  

Major: Computer Science and Cognitive Science 

Take time to breathe: Make your schedule accordingly and try to maintain it. Make a list of the things that you need to do, especially during your first weeks at Lawrence, because International Orientation Week and Welcome Week will be busy and maybe even a little bit overwhelming. 

Allow yourself to make mistakes: Trust me, you will learn from them the most. You might find yourself feeling lost during your freshman year. Don’t panic! You will figure it out. 

Cristy Sada ’21  

Hometown: Monterrey, Mexico 

Major: Government  

U.S. writing style: If you have never learned it (thesis-based writing + citation), go to the Center for Academic Success on campus and specifically ask for help for that sooner rather than later. All Lawrentians use writing tutors. Best part? They’re free! 

Diversify your classes during your first year: Try to get out of JUST taking classes in your major. You might find out that you are interested in other disciplines and want to major in something else. 

 Mai Namiki ’22 

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan 

Major: Biology and Neuroscience  

New studying methods: Since educational systems and studying techniques are different in every country, I recommend doing study groups with students who have already gone through the American System. I think once you see how they prepare for exams and class you can mimic their studying techniques. 

And, finally, we also reached out to Leah McSorley, the dean of students for international student services for her advice. Here’s what she had to say: We’re here to help! If you have questions, need advice, or just want a place to hang out once you arrive, International Student Services is just a click, call, or short walk away. 

That’s it for now. We focused on the things we know you are probably wondering about, because that’s what we wondered about, too. But there is so much great stuff waiting for you at Lawrence. We can’t wait to meet you once you arrive this fall! 

Valeria Nunez Herdoiza ’22 is working this summer in the Office of Communications. She is from Quito, Ecuador.

Lawrence joins amicus brief in support of injunction against ICE ruling on international students

Lawrence University, in partnership with the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, has joined 179 other colleges and universities in an amicus brief filed July 10 in support of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s legal complaint against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The plaintiffs seek an injunction against new guidance from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that effectively implements a ban on international students enrolled exclusively in online courses as a result of COVID-19. The amicus brief argues that higher education institutions and international students will experience significant burdens due to the guidance’s arbitrary prohibition, without notice, to online-only courses for international students, particularly after investing substantial resources in planning for fall. Institutions, the brief argues, relied heavily on the existing SEVP guidance that flexibility would continue “for the duration of the emergency.”

“Ensuring all students can choose the right learning option for themselves during the pandemic has been an overarching principle for the University,” Lawrence President Mark Burstein said.  “The federal government’s decision this spring to provide flexibility for international students’ learning choices was a humane and appropriate decision. The revocation of that flexibility now makes little sense for colleges across the country and for the students we serve.”

The friend-of-the-court brief and list of signatories may be accessed here.

Lawrence University joins amicus brief to support international students

Aerial photo of the Lawrence campus showing Main Hall in the forefront.
Lawrence President Mark Burstein: “The protection of OPT is vital for our international students, for our campus, and for all institutions of higher learning that embrace and nurture global education.”

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Today, Lawrence University joins more than 100 public and private universities and colleges in filing an amicus brief in support of a longstanding U.S. immigration program that assists international students in getting practical training with U.S. employers.

The “friend of the court” brief is supportive in the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers Union vs. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Washtech) litigation in district court to defend the immigration program known as Optional Practical Training and its more recent expansion, STEM OPT (collectively “OPT”).

“OPT has long been a critical program for students from abroad, and Lawrence stands strongly in support of the program and our students,” Lawrence President Mark Burstein said. “International students make up an important part of the Lawrence community. Any rollback of the OPT program will greatly impact these bright and engaged students’ ability to obtain a full educational experience and for this state and for our country to benefit from their talent and energy. The protection of OPT is vital for our international students, for our campus, and for all institutions of higher learning that embrace and nurture global education.”

OPT permits international students studying at colleges and universities in the United States on F-1 status to pursue practical training with a U.S. employer in a position directly related to their course of study for a set period of time following graduation.

“Experiential learning, such as OPT, is now and has long been a crucial component of education in this country,” said Miriam Feldblum, co-founder and executive director of the Presidents’ Alliance of Higher Education and Immigration, which drafted the brief. “The brief and its diverse, wide-ranging list of supporters, representing all sectors of higher education, demonstrate how colleges, universities, and the economy benefit tremendously from OPT. Any rollback of OPT will severely harm international students, the future of American higher education, and economic growth.”

Hundreds of thousands of international students and graduates participate in OPT across the nation each year, with more than 325,000 participating in 2017 (the most recent year statistics are available) and 1.5 million participating between 2004 and 2016.

As the amicus brief states, this is a longstanding government program that permits international students to continue, and deepen, their education by applying the skills and knowledge they learn in the classroom to a professional setting. OPT provides untold benefits for these international students. But, just as critical, being able to provide international students with the opportunities facilitated by OPT gives American institutions of higher education an edge in an increasingly competitive global education market.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Lawrence International Hosts 38th Annual Cabaret

More than 100 students representing 46 countries will offer a cross-cultural trip around the world from the stage of the Lawrence Memorial Chapel Friday, May 9 at 7 p.m. when Lawrence International presents its 38th annual Cabaret.

Cabaret_newsblog_2Under the theme “Cultural Connection: Arriving at the Global Terminal,” Cabaret 2014 features a variety of entertainment followed by a reception of international culinary delights.

Tickets — free for children under four, $5 for children/students and $10 for adults — are available at the Warch Campus Center Information Desk, 920-832-7000 and include the reception.

“This year’s theme was chosen to portray something that many of us, either as international students or as people, experience: travelling,” explained Lawrence International president Diana Szteinberg Burstyn, a junior from Bolivia. “This year we focused on making the show more interactive. We have a very wide range of regions being represented, including the United States.”

Cabaret Graphic_newsblogOnce again, Cabaret will showcase dancing and singing from all corners of the globe in 14 separate performances, including Bollywood, Ghanian and Ethiopian dances, Thai and French songs, plus a two-part fashion show displaying traditional native dress. Sushi, samosa, fruit platters and crab rangoons and other international treats will perform their own variety show in a reception following the performances.

“Cabaret is a great way of combining cultures, art and fun,” said Szteinberg Burstyn. “Lawrence International’s main goal is to expose different cultures and bring anyone who wants to learn about them to this event. Cabaret utilizes a great resource — the students — and makes them become part of something bigger, connecting Lawrence to the community of the Fox Valley and to the rest of the world.”

This year’s Cabaret schedule includes:

  • Belly Dance
  • Ghanian Dance
  • Classical Indian Dance
  • French Song
  • Fashion Show, Part 1
  • Bangladeshi Dance (Punjabi Wedding)
  • ArgentineanTango
  • Vietnamese Dance
  • New Zealand Haka
  • Ethiopian Dance
  • Thai Song
  • Fashion Show, Part 2
  • Bollywood Dance
  • Hula Dance
  • Peruvian Dance
  • Japanese Dance

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.


Annual International Student Cabaret Uncovers “Secrets of the World”

More than 120 students representing nearly 40 countries will showcase traditional dances and music of their homelands in Lawrence University’s 37th annual International Cabaret.

Under the theme “Uncover Secrets of the World,” the cabaret will be performed in Stansbury Theatre of Lawrence’s Music-Drama Center April 20 at 6:30 p.m. and April 21 at 3 p.m.

An international buffet featuring Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mexican and Peruvian dishes as well as a French-Canadian dessert will be served following Sunday’s performance in the Warch Campus Center.

Tickets, at $10 for the show, $20 for show and dinner, are available at the Warch Campus Center information desk, 920-832-6837. Children under age four receive free admission.

“The international students at Lawrence always look forward to the opportunity to share part of our homeland heritage and traditions with the campus and Fox Cities communities,” said junior Vicky Jhong Chung of Peru, president of Lawrence International. “Cabaret provides an ideal venue to showcase our diversity.”

The event features more than a dozen acts providing entertainment from around the world, including:
  a fashion show displaying traditional dress from the countries represented
  Japanese traditional dance
  Latin dance
  Vietnamese Fan Dance
  Israeli Dance
  Brazilian song
  Chinese long-sleeve dance
  Balinese dance
  Aztec dance
  Pakistani dance
  Bollywood dance
  Gangnam style dance
•  Tanzanian song
  Indian dance solo
  Music by the Sambistas, an Afro-Cuban percussionist, West African drums

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Lawrence University Delegation Recognized at Model United Nations Conference

Lawrence University students Angela Ting and Angela Wang earned the “Best Delegation” award as members of Lawrence’s Model United Nations team at the recent 50th annual Midwest Model United Nations Conference in St. Louis, Mo.

Angela Wang (l.) and Angela Ting

Lawrence’s eight-member delegation represented El Salvador in the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. Ting, a junior from Malaysia, and Wang, a sophomore from Forest Hills, N.Y., represented the General Assembly Third Committee. They were awarded Best Delegation honors for their work debating the provision of humanitarian assistance to refugees and internally-displaced persons in conflict situations.

During the four-day conference, the Lawrence delegation also participated in debates regarding the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence, the impact of drugs on development and the U.N.’s role in combating transnational organized crime. The regional conference drew more than 900 students from nearly 80 colleges and universities throughout the Midwest.

Also representing Lawrence were sophomore Carrie Brown, Chicago, Ill., sophomore Gi’selle Jones, Kingston, Jamaica, sophomore Amanda Popp, Palmyra, junior Tasmia Rahman, Dhaka, Bangladesh, sophomore Ranga Wimalasuriya, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka, and freshman Mingxia Zhu, Guangzhou, China.

Founded in 1960, the Midwest Model United Nations is a collegiate organization devoted to broadening students’ awareness of world politics by promoting an interest and understanding of other nations in the world. At the conference, student delegations representing various nations work on pressing international issues to gain perspective on the world and the United Nations’ role in world politics.

A Window to the World: Lawrence International Hosts 33rd Annual Cabaret

APPLETON, WIS. — More than 80 students from around the world are scheduled to perform when Lawrence International presents its 33rd annual Cabaret — “A Window to the World” — Sunday, April 19 at 3 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. A buffet dinner featuring delectable international dishes will be served in Colman Hall following the performance.

Tickets, at $10 for the show and $15 for the show and dinner, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749. Children 6 and under are free.

“Cabaret is a vibrant celebration of life through music, song, dance and cuisine from around the world,” said Tim Schmidt, Lawrence International advisor. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for Lawrence’s international students to share a part of their own culture and heritage with other members of the campus as well as the greater Fox Valley community.”

This year’s schedule of 17 separate performances include a hip-hop dance-off, a vocal performance from Sudan, a Chinese instrumental performance and native dances from Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Japan, India, Latin America, Ukraine and Vietnam, among others.