Posted August 28, 2013

New orientation gives international students a jumpstart on campus life

Being a new student is difficult enough, but when you add being new to the United States to the equation, settling in to student life can be a bit challenging.

In an effort to help international students adjust to their new life at Temple and in the U.S., as well as introduce them to campus faculty, students, resources and services, the university’s Office of International Affairs developed its first international student orientation.

Students from across the globe arrived on campus on Aug. 10, a few weeks before the start of classes,  to become acclimated to Temple University and Philadelphia before the fall semester began.

Many arrived together, escorted from the Philadelphia International airport by student volunteers on Temple shuttle busses.

When they arrived on campus for their weeklong orientation, new students were given the opportunity to have a little fun and get settled into their new residences. There was also time set aside to take care of some of the basic needs of every first-year student like, visits with advisors, creating TUids, opening bank accounts, making shopping runs and learning how to navigate SEPTA.

“As international student enrollment continues to rise, we feel it is incredibly important to support our recruitment efforts with services that meet the unique needs of our students once they arrive,” said  Jessica Sanberg, director of international admissions. “The new comprehensive orientation program provides a smooth transition to Temple and to life in the United States.”

Approximately 350 international undergraduate students made the brave decision to travel thousands of miles away from home to study at Temple University. That number represents eight percent of the overall class of 2015 and a 38 percent increase over the number of global students enrolled in 2012.

More than 200 new undergraduate students attended the international student orientation, representing 32 countries. Chinese students made-up the largest group of new international students followed by students from South Korea, Taiwan, India and Nigeria.

Polina Nikolavena Morilova, a sophomore in the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management was the first international student to welcome the incoming class during the annual Convocation Ceremony last week.

Last year, Morilova made a 12-hour journey from Moscow to Philadelphia to enroll in the hospitality management program.

“As an international student I know how difficult it is to come to a new place, meet new people and learn to live alone,” she said. “It takes a lot of courage to take such an important step, students should be proud that they’ve made this decision.”

Morilova acknowledges that it took her a little time to become situated; but once she did, she knew she’d made the right choice.

“For international students it’s important to find a home away from home,” she said. “Temple is the second home for all of us — it unites people from all different countries, backgrounds and cultures. It doesn’t matter what you were before, we are all Temple students, and we all speak the same language, even though some of us speak with an accent.”