By: Jasmin Sonnenschein
William Penn University has started a new class this fall semester to make international students become familiar with the campus and the Okaloosa community. The “International Student Seminar” takes place in the Mahaska State Bank Room in the student Union every Monday from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm and is mandatory for every international first year WPU student. In the class students learn how to use resources on and off campus such as banking, health services, and academics. Students also get the chance to meet people from the town that contribute to the community. They also learn, for example, how to apply for a Social Security Number or campus employment.
“It gives the students an overview of what is available to them on and off campus and how to make use of it. We introduce the students to people that are involved in the community and let them have a conversation with each other. That way they feel more comfortable to go somewhere if they need help”
Another goal of the class is to help international students be successful in their studies and to be involved in events outside of the school. However, what do the students themselves think about this class? The opinions vary when it comes to the importance of this class “I think for new students that struggle with the language and the American lifestyle, this class is very important. I, personally, want to learn more about my major and I’m already well informed about the American way of life since I’m living off campus. However, I think that some other students might find this class very helpful”, said freshman Maximilian Leisgang, international student from Germany.
“It is a good opportunity for the students to meet and talk about what they experience here… They’re all in this together,” said Burns.
Freshman Sebastian Rulis, international student from Denmark, also likes another aspect of this class. “We can talk across the room with each other and about each other in order to learn about our different cultures.”
According to Rulis, the class is fun but he also agrees with Leisgang that it is not major related and therefore unimportant “academic wise”. Another thing that most of the students do not like is the time.
“6:30p.m. is too late for me”, said freshman Felipe Luz, international student from Brazil. Luz thinks having the class that late is a disadvantage because most of the students come right out of practice and they just want to have time to do their homework and relax for the end of the day.
“Everyone is in the same situation as me”, says Luz.
The 8-week class ends with a wrap up dinner in which the students will reflect on what they have learned from the instructor and also from each other.
“What I expect at the end of the course is to know everything there is to know about the school and community, so that in the future I can find my way through any problems,” said Luz