International students prepare for new country, new semester 

This week, the Joplin Airport — a regional airport that serves the Four State Area — feels more like an international airport thanks to a constant stream of international students who have been arriving to attend Pittsburg State University. 

They’re welcomed by a big crimson and gold flag and representatives of the Office of International Programs & Studies, then head to Pittsburg to get acclimated to life in the U.S. with the help of several days of orientation activities. 

“It's an exciting time for them and for us,” said Aaron Hurt, director of International Programs & Studies. “We love the diversity that our international students bring to campus, and the friendships we forge with them while they’re here that wind up being lifelong connections.” 

Hurt is anticipating about 70 new students from 18 countries to attend PSU this semester as undergraduate, graduate, Intensive English, and exchange students in a range of disciplines: Art, Accounting, Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Management, Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry, International Business, English, Nursing, Materials Science, Social Work, Communication, Psychology, Engineering Technology, and Technology in Automotive, Technology Management, and Information Technology and the Intensive English Program. 

“These new students we're expecting come from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Finland, France, India, Jordan, Korea, Malaysia, Micronesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palau, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Uzbekistan,” he said. 

Exchange students will be coming from eight of PSU’s partner schools: Gyeongsang National University (South Korea), Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (Brazil), Excelia Business School (France), Universidade de Sorocaba (Brazil), University of Jyväskylä (Finland), Audencia Business School (France), Haaga-Helia (Finland), Shu-Te University (Taiwan).  

The university also will have two sponsored students from Pakistan through the U.S. State Department's Global UGRAD program, and two sponsored students from Paraguay through the CPK-BECAL Scholarship Program. 

Orientation will kick off on Wednesday with a day of welcome activities, culminating in an event that’s already drawn excitement from students who come from countries with a serious soccer presence: student teams will play soccer on the Robert W. Plaster Center’s indoor field from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. 

“Last time we did this, there were at least 14 different countries out there playing,” said Brenda Hawkins, PSU’s immigration and advising coordinator. “They are in awe of the Plaster Center and can't believe they get to play there.” 

Orientation activities continue Thursday and Friday with presentations, English placement tests and IEP tests, a typical American university student lunch from Pizza Hut, an activity fair, recreational activities, games and team competitions, and participating in a decades-old PSU tradition: ringing the Centennial Bell to mark the start of their PSU education. 

Each evening, they’ll be treated to a dinner sponsored by various local churches and by the International Friends of Pittsburg.

Learn more:

International Programs & Services