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The Eastern Echo Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

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International students adjust to life at Eastern Michigan University

International students reflect on their time away from home and new experiences at EMU.

At Eastern Michigan University, students are admitted and represented from over 80 different countries. For some international students, adapting to EMU can be challenging, but for others, it's a pleasant surprise.

Admissions are the first step in a student's journey to attending Eastern Michigan University. While some may presume that the international admissions process is different from its domestic counterpart, the two aren’t dissimilar at their cores.

“Our application process is very straightforward,” Faith Salsbury-Shavalia, an international enrollment adviser at Eastern Michigan University, said. “It’s an academic review, looking mainly at grade point average.”

For some students, an English proficiency exam is required in specific countries. They must meet national guidelines like English proficiency and have financial components.

“They need a full academic year's worth of U.S. dollars in liquid funds, this is how they secure their visa appointment,” Salsbury-Shavalia said. “However, scholarships change the amount of money that a student needs to have in their account for that financial component.” 

Although admissions comes first in transitioning a student from another country to the United States, the adjustment process plays a large role itself.

Shahm Khasawneh, a Jordan native from the capital city of Amman, spoke about his transition from Jordanian culture to the culture at EMU.

“I think that the toughest thing for me was the amount of walking that we do on campus,” Khasawneh said.  “A car or a bike is the common transportation in Jordan, but here, you can get pretty much anywhere on foot. In Jordan, there is mountain terrain, so when I first got here it felt different because of the lack of elevation. It took a few days for my breathing to adjust.”

Other international students include twin brothers Faris and Faisal Abusarah. Like Khasawneh, they are also Jordanian, but born and raised in Saudi Arabia’s capital city, Riyadh.

Faisal Abusarah had advice for international students looking to attend Eastern.

“I don’t have too much experience yet, but study well and attend your classes,” Faisal Abusarah said. “Oh, and the food’s not gonna be the same, but try everything and attempt to learn everything to get the experience.” 

His brother, Faris Abusarah, had some additional guidance.

“Try to learn as  much as you can about Eastern’s campus before coming here,” Faris Abusarah said. “The Student Center, which hall you want to live in, where your classes are going to be, where you can get food and when they close.”

For many international students who arrive at EMU, it is their first time being in the country. This was the case for Khasawneh and the Abusarah twins. But for Pritish Kokate, from Maharashtra, India, he has been in the United States multiple times with a semi-professional basketball team.

As a sophomore majoring in sports management, he realizes how much getting involved on campus can be beneficial for the adjustment of first-year international students.

“I think it's important for students to go to campus events like EMU Connect and EagleFest, that's where you can meet new people,” Kokate said. “You can find different clubs within your major which helps you to build a social circle. For me, I had no idea there was a sports management club, and it was cool to find out there was a place with other people in my major.”

EMU admits undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world. For more information on the admission process for international students, visit their website.