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Helping Foreign Students in the US Feel at Home

A college's international student office is a good place to start getting to know the country. Part 24 of our Foreign Student Series.Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

A college is more than just classrooms and laboratories. It represents a working community with a population that can be greater than that of many towns. And college communities have to deal with many of the same issues and problems as the general society around them.

All this can be a little scary, especially if a student is new not only to a college but also to the country. This week in our Foreign Student Series, the subject is college support services for students who come to the United States.

The school we have chosen for our example this week is Indiana University in Bloomington. About ten percent of its almost forty thousand students are from other countries.

The Office of International Services at Indiana University provides assistance to foreign students and scholars. For example, the office organizes a special week-long conference for new foreign students before the start of each semester.

The conference is called the New International Student Orientation. It provides information about classes, social clubs and health services. New foreign students also take placement examinations and a required English language test.

Also, the office of international student services organizes programs to help foreign students feel more at home in the United States. For example, the office works with a group called Bloomington Worldwide Friendship. This group helps international students at the university meet and get to know people who live in Bloomington.

The university also has advisers who explain the rules of student life and try to help international students feel at ease.

Most American colleges and universities have a similar office for students from other countries. These offices can help guide students through the steps to come to the United States. Later, they can provide support so the students become involved in school life and make American friends.

The job is not always easy when students want to spend their free time with friends from their own country or group. But an international student office is one of the best places to start getting to know a new country and its people.

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. Our Foreign Student Series is available on the Internet -- with MP3 files and transcripts -- at I'm Bob Doughty.