At the beginning of the semester, 32 international students arrived in the United States to start studying at Appalachian State University for the 2018 spring semester. These students come from several different countries, such as France, Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Chile, Germany, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, Madagascar, Thailand, Switzerland, Nigeria, Peru, India and Canada.
The foreign students were received by the campus organization, INTAPP or International Appalachian. Students within the organization welcome the international students at the airport and then give them a tour around campus.
Alexa Dudash, a sophomore exercise science major, has been a part of INTAPP since her first semester of her freshman year.
“Getting to work with the internationals is very rewarding and interesting,” Dudash said. “I love to hear their stories about what brought them to App. We are all so different and hearing their perspective is eye-opening.”
INTAPP has three different goals: to advocate for the internationalization of App’s campus, to promote the study abroad program and to encourage international students to come to Appalachian and to act as a support system for the Office of International Education and Development.
Emily Sedlacek, a junior English and French major, is another INTAPP member and has been working with international students for three semesters.
“INTAPP is a group of great people who truly believe that being globally minded is extremely important,” Selacek said. “INTAPP is a great community for people for people who are passionate about studying abroad and traveling. You get to know people from all over the world. We all get to bring something different to the table, and I think that’s special.”
Janine Barten is a junior from the Netherlands and came to the U.S. to study political science and criminal justice.
“I wanted to do an exchange year because I wanted to see more from the world and learn more about different cultures,” Barten said. “I chose to come to App because the campus seemed nice, and its location is in the mountains, which is incredibly different than the Netherlands.”
Nadia Zegmott, a sophomore journalism major from England, decided to come to Appalachian for similar reasons.
“I’ve never felt more welcome anywhere,” Zegmott said. “I really love the surrounding area and being up in the mountains. I’m from the city, so you can imagine I don’t get to see or go to the mountains ever! It’s been a big change, but it’s a good change. I couldn’t have done it without INTAPP.”
Even though the international students have not been on campus long, they have noticed differences between American culture and the culture of their home country.
Nic Bariesheaa, a junior chemistry and biology major from Australia, said he has learned a lot from his short time in America.
“There’s a lot more homework to do here,” Brariesheaa said. “You wouldn’t get that in Australia. You would study the content on your own time. There’s help if you need it, but here they drill the content into your brain so that you’re ready by the time it comes for finals.”
With students coming from different backgrounds and cultures comes an increase in diversity. INTAPP helps students at App State learn about other cultures and traditions.
“It’s highly important to learn about new cultures because diversity helps like-minded people and those who have different thoughts find a common ground and grow as individuals, whether that be intellectually or personally,” Zegmott said. “Diversity encourages people to be themselves, and I personally think that’s highly important for self development and identification.”
Story by Anna Muckenfuss, News Reporter