International students also come as teachers
Updated: May 10
More than 180 international students attend SWOSU bringing their unique cultures and experiences with them.
By Johannes Becht
What would SWOSU be without its international community? More than 180 international students attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Fall 2019, the overwhelming majority of them on an F-1 student visa. Thirty-three countries are represented on campus, and the students come from all continents around the globe except Australia.
What value do they bring to make SWOSU a better campus? “They do not only come as students, they are also teachers,” explains Dr. Randall Beckloff, commonly referred to as Dr. Randy, International Office director. “They learn about life in the United States of America, and we learn about their countries and cultures.
Another aspect Beckloff has noticed over the many years he has been working in International Education is that international students are very focused and motivated when they come to SWOSU.
“They traveled hundreds and thousands of miles, and they come with a plan and a goal in mind.” Also, they seem to be very flexible. “They experience a different environment and they are ready to make changes.”
Many international students take part in diverse campus activities and events. The Southwestern International Student Association organizes events throughout the semester, for example, ice skating, banquets, or trips to Oklahoma City. Also, they will conduct the SWOSU International Students Festival on Saturday, April 4.
However, connecting with other cultures rarely comes without problems, miscommunication and language obstacles are common appearances. Most of the international students also experience homesickness and other smaller problems.
“Generally, during the first two months, students tend to show up in our office more frequently,” Beckloff adds.
Beckloff says he enjoys the work he is doing. “I like it because I get to talk to them and get knowledge about different cultures.”
From time to time, he undertakes trips to education fairs, among other things in China and Japan, to recruit new students. Other internationals come from the SWOSU partner universities in Taiwan, South Korea, India and Cypress. Furthermore, SWOSU is working together with agents. Another big portion of students, however, comes out of personal recommendations.