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Student Life

International students make stateside college adjustments

Thang Nguyen, a new USF international student, watched in amazement as his professor walked into class in a T-shirt and jeans on the first day of the fall semester.

“In Vietnam, college is very formal,” said Nguyen.  “This is a new experience for me.”

Nguyen is one of 1,745 international students enrolled at USF this semester, according to the USF World website.  These students come from all around the globe, particularly China and India, and many are experiencing culture shock as they become acquainted with college life in the U.S.

The integration of international students into the USF student population is what makes our campus more diverse and ultimately helps all students, said Roger Brindley, associate vice president for Global Academic Programs at USF.

“USF offers world-class programs and we are very committed to student success,” said Brindley. “We give international students an experience that is comparable to home and we give them the social experience as well.”

The social aspect of universities in the U.S. is what makes the college experience memorable for many students, particularly international students.  There is a lot of student involvement on this campus, Nguyen said as he motioned to the large group of students listening to music and enjoying a barbecue held on the courtyard of the Marshall Student Center.

Valérie El Houssine, a freshman from Belgium, said the large size of USF was very surprising.

“My first impression of USF was that it was huge,” El Houssine said.  “Trying to find my classes the first day of school was an adventure.”

In Belgium, college campuses are much smaller, she said.  A few of the buildings here at USF would be the size of a whole university back at home.

Although USF Tampa is large, amenities such as the USF Bull Runner have assisted students like El Houssine get to class and on-campus activities quickly.

When she inevitably got lost on campus the first few days of classes, other USF students were eager to assist.

“Students were very helpful,” she said.  “They helped me in class when I needed to get caught up with my notes and everyone spent time getting to know me.”


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