By Nami Nagaoka
In response to an increasing presence of international students and a growing need for diverse living spaces, Youngstown State University has partnered with the NYO Property Group to provide five apartments at Erie Terminal for 17 international students and a resident assistant.
Kate Fitzgerald, director of housing and residence life, has been coordinating with the International Programs Office (IPO) and NYO to create what she believes would be a small community for international students to have a great experience at YSU.
“They will be able to experience Youngstown living,” she said. “The YSU housing office assigned Rachel Davis as an RA at the Erie Terminal to support the students … she will be a great resource for them.”
“We want our international students to have a good experience here,” he said.
Tanner said those residences will have access to the YSU community and resources while also experiencing life downtown.
Nathan Myers, the associate provost at IPO, has a great impact on this change.
“IPO has been advocating for less expensive housing for the last two years and there were several issues to make the YSU housing less expensive,” he said.
Myers pointed out the difficulties for international students to adjust to life in the United States.
He is also very supportive of having an RA on staff at the location and said it will let students have a peer support system for dealing with issues such as language barriers, communication and social issues due to different cultural backgrounds.
“It’s becoming very important for the international students to have responsible individuals to connect with,” Myers said.
He said he is excited to see the development and expansion of the YSU community near downtown.
Rachel Davis, the international housing coordinator for Erie Terminal, is currently interning at IPO.
“I love helping students,” she said. “It’s important for [international students] to have somebody who can support them and help them out.”
Davis has already moved into the building and said she has interacted with the students.
“I’m excited to oversee such a diverse population of students,” she said.
Davis said international students have sought her out to learn more about the area, places to buy groceries, how to access the building, get accustomed to American culture and housing issues.
Davis said she enjoys connecting students with others to develop friendships and have study partners.
“I am excited to see how this goes and if the program does well, it would be great to have more rooms available next year.”