Xenia Daily Gazette
CEDARVILLE — Just two years after implementing the proactive intervention and advising program for international students, Cedarville University is boasting a 100 percent retention rate of international students for the 2014-15 academic year.
According to the New York Times, a study conducted by David L. Di Maria, director of international programs and services at Kent State University, 50 percent of the college staff respondents felt they were underprepared to work with international students and 64 percent felt they were doing nothing to accommodate the foreign student population.
Cedarville has experienced a different story since starting its international student program in 2013. The new program, headed by Brenda Reid, equips incoming international students for the difficult transition into American college life through an all-inclusive support system.
The program begins with an intensive freshman orientation starting a week before the rest of the students come to campus in the fall. Orientation connects and develops the international community, explains the cultural transitions such as the cultural time shift and discusses the academic expectations for each student.
Freshmen and transfer students can then take a semester-long class that continues to help with adjustments to American culture and helps them develop better study skills as they transition from high school to college academics.
Throughout their four years, Reid — coordinator of international students — acts as a second adviser for any social, academic, transportation and relationship support. Reid believes that having a specific contact point for students to get in touch with helps enable their confidence and independence.
“We want to be fully accessible so that we can come alongside them as they solve issues before they become bigger problems,” Reid said. “Through this proactive support program, we’ve enabled our students to thrive socially and academically because they know they have someone to come to should the situation arise.”
Enoch Jayasundara, senior information technology major from Sri Lanka, has been able to witness the international program’s influence since the beginning.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at Cedarville immensely because it is a school that loves God, and its administrators do everything they can to show that,” Jayasundara said. “Through the administration and the international program, we’ve been able to build a great community with the entire campus and grow in our faith together.”
In addition to administrative assistance, international students can participate in two major student organizations that focus on fostering community within their group. Mu Kappa is a cross-cultural service organization and MISO is an international student organization, both of which serve as a student-created resource during their time at Cedarville.
Content provided by Cedarville University.