OU welcomes 61 new exchange students this spring
Sixty-one students from across the world recently arrived in Norman, and International Student Services and the International Programs Center hosted an orientation Monday for the new students.
The 61 international students represent 17 nations and are studying at OU as semester-long reciprocal exchange students, yearlong students or as students in specialized short-term programs that last about four weeks, said Tina Henderson, OU exchange student adviser.
OU has hosted international students for more than 50 years, according to the International Student Services’ website.
Last year, a record-high 690,923 students came to the U.S. to study abroad, according to the Institute of International Education.
Monday’s transfer student orientation focused on information specifically for transfer students, including work visa and immigration policies, said Brooke Hammer, international programming adviser at the International Programs Center.
“It’s important that we help them with any questions they may have,” Hammer said.
Monayem Mazumder, graduate research assistant and Ph.D. student of aerospace and mechanical engineering at OU from Bangladesh, said his dream is to be a professor.
As a step toward that goal, he is a teaching assistant for two professors at the university this semester.
“I like it, because in the future, if I’d like to be a faculty member, I need to teach,” Mazumder said. “Because I’d like to stay in America, right? So I like to teach American students.”
Mazumder called his home nation a land with limited engineering opportunities.
“It’s a very small country and opportunity is not too much as a mechanical engineer,” he said. “Because we are not industrial-based — we are agriculture-based.”
Schools in Bangladesh are not equipped with the technology to teach engineers what they need to know because of the expense, Mazumder said. Students in his country also cannot obtain a doctorate, he said.
Mazumder said his future goal is to bring his parents here, away from the instability in Bangladesh.
Students from abroad say they come to the U.S. for varying reasons and experiences.
Martina Zucca, an exchange student from Italy who arrived Jan. 13, is studying English and Spanish while helping a professor translate a book into Italian.
Though her arrival was slowed by several setbacks including security, a canceled flight and a broken phone, she said everyone she met was “really, really nice.”
Unlike Mazumder, who hopes to live in the U.S. permanently, Zucca is staying in Oklahoma for four months, and is on a quest for culture.
“I want to see; I want to travel a bit. I wish to go to New Orleans, New York, Grand Canyon,” Zucca said.
Zucca said she chose OU because she wanted to live in a smaller place.
“They told me you really love your culture here, and if you really want to see the culture part of America, you have to come in the South,” she said.
Zucca said she is making an effort to get involved by joining clubs and going to events.
“I think if you study abroad, you are different from the others,” Zucca said. “You know how to behave with other people — not only with your friends, from your country, your culture, your language. … It’s an exchange … It’s a great opportunity, and I won’t ever have it again. So I just enjoy it.”
Exchange students by the numbers:
61 — New spring 2011 exchange students
189 — Active exchange students from fall 2010 to spring 2011
24 — Countries represented