By Nami Nagaoka
The honors college of Youngstown State University has been trying to increase enrollment among international students. The number of international applicants for Fall 2017’s honors college has been rising rapidly since last October.
Amy Cossentino, the director of the honors college, said 27 foreigners have applied to the Honors College — 23 from Nepal, four from Sri Lanka and one each from Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
Nate Myers, an associate provost at YSU, has been traveling abroad to recruit more international students to YSU, which explains the sharp increase in international students in the program.
Megan Evans, a senior majoring in sociology, English and linguistics, an office worker and president of the Honors Trustees, said being in the honors college allowed her to make friends and explore professional pathways.
“I personally really enjoy being involved in the honors college. That gives me a lot of opportunities to succeed and to lead and also to commit service in my communities,” Evans said.
Evans said that adding additional international students to the honors college only exemplifies part of YSU’s mission statement, “to foster an understanding of diversity, sustainability and global perspectives” and to advance the “intellectual and cultural life of the city, region and world.’”
“We want to help [international students] get more opportunities for more in depth academic experience … ” Evans said. “It … also represents the university as a whole.”
The honors college is planning to be more connected to the international groups such as iPals and International Students Organization next year. Recently, they hosted an international coffee hour to try to encourage engagement with foreign born students.
“It’s exciting to see the future years when we are going to have more engagements with international students,” Evans said. “It will really help to improve not only what YSU looks like now, but also to improve students’ experience to be able to have better connection to international students.”
Alanis Chew, a freshman majoring in business economics and mathematics, moved to the United States five years ago from Malaysia.
When she applied to YSU, she was looking for a scholarship on the university’s website, found one from the honors college, applied and was accepted.
Even though Chew and the other honors students must do some extra assignments, volunteer in the community and keep a 3.4 GPA, she said the work is worth it.
“The requirements to be in honors just help you to get more involved in YSU,” Chew said.
Ashwin Mishra, a freshman from Nepal majoring in computer science had a 3.5 GPA from high school and 1,800 on SAT score, which qualified him to be in the honors college. He decided to join because he wanted to expose himself to a new environment and meet new people.
“Being in honors, we definitely get to meet a lot of people with similar interests and similar majors,” Mishra said. “When I was in Nepal, I didn’t know that there was [such a thing].”
Mishra said being in the honors college allows him to find friends easily, something that can be hard for any new student.
“It makes us feel more involved in campus,” Mishra said. “We are learning how to develop academically and also socially.”