Be Careful of Scams! DO NOT SEND MONEY

Dear International Students and Scholars,

OISS is aware that the international student and scholar population is being targeted by people who are contacting them by telephone or by email, claiming to be from the US government, IRS, or other US government related agency.  The callers say that you need to send money due to some problem with your immigration record, taxes, or some other similar issue. These people are criminals and are trying to get your money.

If you ever receive any communication or threat that requires you to send money or provide private information such as a Social Security number, we recommend that you do the following:

  • Stay calm.
  • End the phone call or delete the email.
  • Take note of what information you can: name, caller id number, date and time. Report this information to the Police or report the scam to the IRS or Federal Trade Commission (see below)
  • If you are worried and want to confirm if it is fake call, contact OISS for verification.

Always remember: US government agencies will NEVER demand money from you over the phone.

A few MSU international students have already lost money because they believed the criminals on the phone were really US government agents. These victims have the following advice for you to help you avoid becoming a victim as well:

  • Caller may know your name and date of birth
  • Caller ID on your phone might display a police number or 911: this number is fake.
  • Callers use very legal terms
  • Callers will be demanding, and threaten or scare you
  • Caller will ask you to send money by Western Union or some other money transfer methods
  • Caller will say they have tried to contact you previously and could not reach you
  • Caller may know part of your Social Security Number (SSN)
  • DO NOT GIVE PERSONAL INFORMATION: name, date of birth, SSN
  • Caller may tell you that you should not tell anyone else about this “federal” issue
  • If caller first tries to scare you to get you “hooked” and then tries to be helpful –it is fake
  • Caller might be the same nationality as you are and will pretend to help you
  • Stay as calm as possible.
  • Tell them you are going to call the police and end the call.

Everyone is vulnerable to these calls – many US citizens fall victim to these scams.


You can report to the local police

USCIS reporting:

Following is a message from the US government regarding email scams.

Beware: scammers are using the name as part of an e-mail phishing scam to collect your personal information on a fake IRS website. will never contact you to request your personal information.   Don’t take the bait.

If your receive an e-mail that’s supposed to be from a government program, and it seems legitimate, do your homework:

Report all other government imposer phishing e-mail scams to the Federal Trade Commission.

Student of the Month: Yixin Mei-Make International Students’ Voice Heard

To say that Yixin Mei has taken advantage of her time in the United States is an extreme understatement.Feb SOM (1)

It was Mei’s idea to study abroad in the United States. She wanted to take initiative, step out of her comfort zone, and forge her own path. Her parents were open to the idea, and now Mei is a senior in the Supply Chain Management program with a minor in Information Technology and is involved in the International Student Association (ISA), Chinese American Cross Culture Experience and the Residential Hall Association (RHA).

Originally from Shanghai, China, one of the biggest adjustments for Mei (other than the large size of the campus) has been the sense of independence she has gained while living here. She feels lucky to be at Michigan State doing the things she does. As a representative in RHA, Mei is one of the only international students in recent years and has the opportunity to voice the opinions and concerns of other international students on campus. She is constantly working to make sure that international students are included in decision making, and that their voices are being heard.

In addition to her extra-curricular activities, Mei is also an employee of OISS! She loves the work environment, the mixed cultures of the employees, and working with international students. She said it’s an ideal place to work, and is providing her with good experience for future job opportunities.

When she isn’t busy with her organizations and activities, you can find Mei simply socializing with those around her. Interacting with people from all over the world is one of her favorite things. She is interested in people’s stories, why they do what they do, where they want to go in life, and where they have come from. When she is in Shanghai, she enjoys spending time with her parents, grandmother, and her role model. Her family loves to eat xiao long bao, a soup dumpling that has many fond memories. Her grandmother’s house is her favorite place back home, where she is always well fed, and can share about school with her ever-social grandma.

Mei has held an internship in California with the Smith-Anderson Wine Group where she learned a lot about wine, gardening and more. She has an internship lined up with Great Lakes Wine and Spirits for this summer, the biggest distributor of wine and spirits in Michigan.

Mei’s advice for other international students who are taking the initiative to study abroad is to check the weather before you go! She also advises international students to learn English and the culture of the place where they will study before arriving. “Step out of your comfort zone. Spend time with friends who aren’t international students and take advantage of the first few months abroad- there are a lot of decisions that affect your future college career.”

Mei took a chance and stepped out of her comfort zone, and in her years spent at MSU, it has definitely paid off.

W7XnfIL-swzMHCRIalzLxfiMDvmqiOQoWVkOsm-UNzMYixin Mei was interviewed by John Nowak, a senior at Michigan State and the OISS Sponsored Student Program intern. He has worked at OISS since last spring and enjoys meeting and interacting with sponsored students from all over the world. John is in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, and also is studying Spanish at MSU.

Join Us to Celebrate 2015 Chinese Spring Festival at MSU

Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival is coming soon on Feb 19, 2015! Dumpling making, firework show, Chinese New Year Temple Fair and Gala and more fun events are coming. Join us to celebrate with traditional cultural food, activities and more!

Below are the ones we are aware of and want to share with all of you!

temple fair**Chinese New Year Temple Fair**

Date: Friday, 13 Feb 2015, 3:30-8:30pm

Location: McDonel Hall

The Chinese Students and Scholars Association at MSU is pleased to invite you to attend the first annual Chinese New Year Temple Fair. Temple Fair at MSU will feature series of excellent performances, activities and exhibitions representing different elements of traditional Chinese culture. There will be free authentic Chinese food! Want to learn Chinese culture and make cool international friends? Don’t hesitate, because you will be amazed by the colorful Chinese cultural performances and fun activities!

Hear Chinese New Year Greetings from MSU President, Provost, OISS and  faculty and staff.


**Chinese New Year Firework Show**

Date: Wednesday, 18 Feb 2015, 7:30-8:00pm

Location: Cherry Lane (The field behind Wonders Hall)Fireworks1

We54 at Michigan State University is hosting a firework show on Chinese New Year’s eve! Firework show is one of the most important traditions to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Here is a general introduction about this tradition: In ancient times, Chinese believe that firework can scare away all the monsters so that they can stay safe and happy in the coming new year. Besides firework show, flyers of introducing how Chinese celebrate Spring Festival will be distributed, and the field will be decorated the with Chinese lanterns and other traditional Chinese decorations.

Hubbard Hall

**East Neighborhood

Chinese New Year Celebration**

Date: Thursday, 19 Feb 2015, 5:00-8:00pm

Location: Hubbard Hall

Join all of your friends in East Neighborhood for a Chinese New Year Celebration! Chinese New Year Celebration will take place in Hubbard Dining Hall. The event will feature Song, Dance, Live DJ, Tea Demonstration, Chinese Trivia, Calligraphy, Chinese Booth, and afterwards popular Chinese movies and popcorn.

10856808_1014372655258688_9072420292395982933_o**Chinese New Year of Goat Celebration**

Date: Friday, 20 Feb 2015, 10:30am-1:30pm

Location: Spartan Room (Food Court in International Center)

Here is another Chinese New Year celebration event on campus! The Confucius Institute at Michigan State University is holding a celebration on Friday, Feb. 20th from 10:30am – 1:30pm in the International Center Food Court (Spartan Room). Grab lunch and join the fun for free!

**Chinese Spring Festival Gala**2015Spring Festival Gala

Date:  Friday, 20 Feb 2015,  7:00pm

Location: Breslin Center

Come join MSU Community to celebrate Chinese Spring Festival Gala! This year, CUSA along with BCBS, CEN,CACCE,Human of East Lansing, OISS, ISA present you the celebration of Chinese tradition spring festival. Click here to purchase tickets.

2015 Chinese New Year Gala poster

**Greater Lansing Area Chinese New Year Celebration**

Date: Saturday, February 21st, 2015, 1:30-8:00pm

Location: Meridian Mall

Come celebrate the Chinese New Year with the Greater Lansing Chinese community! There will be a lion dance parade, performances on the main stage and carnival games and activities. It’s free! There will be a shuttle bus picking up students on campus. View the full schedule here.

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 4.12.17 PM

**Seeing China: Photographic Views and Viewpoints**

Date: Saturday, 21 Feb 2015, 11:30-1:30pm

Location: MSU Museum

“Seeing China” features photographs of China by six contemporary, non-Chinese photographers, and stereographs, from the MSU Museum’s history collection, made in China between 1901 and 1905. The exhibit challenges viewers to consider the effects of environmental change and political responsibility, rapid urbanization and economic expansion, human and civil rights, and cultural diversity and change. Click here for more information.

**MSU Launches China ExperienScreen Shot 2015-02-11 at 10.29.42 PMce** 

The China Experience: An MSU Exploration of Arts & Culture aims to create dynamic programming through events and dialogues held throughout the year focusing on the arts and culture in Greater China. It will officially run from February 20, 2015 during the Chinese New Year celebrations to August 30, 2016 throughout the MSU campus and surrounding community. Click here for more about the project and list of China Experience events. Below are a glimpse of some of the featured happening:

  1. Greater Lansing, MI Welcomes Chinese Speaking Visitors
  2. Student-Guided Gallery Tours in Chinese at the MSU Broad Art Museum and MSU Museum

Check OISS calendar of events for the detailed information. Stay tuned with OISS Facebook and Twitter


2014: An OISS Year in Review

The year 2014 brought with it all kinds of excitement for Spartans, around the world and right here in East Lansing. We celebrated as the year kicked off with an MSU win at the Rose Bowl. We bundled up and survived a polar vortex. Hundreds gathered in the International Center food court to cheer on their favorite teams in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil – a few of your fellow Spartans even watched the games live in Brazil! More than 1,200 new international students joined us in August at IAOP, and many graduated in the spring or fall, heading on to new adventures.

This year also demanded that the OISS community come together to support each other, as we mourned the tragic loss of two international students, and gathered in honor of tragedies around the globe that affect members of our Spartan family here. Then there was the bittersweet moment where we said farewell at the retirement of our long-time director Peter Briggs.

We wish we could highlight all the amazing events and people that helped make 2014 such a great year, but this blog can’t go on forever – so here are a few. Please add your favorite moments and memories from this year in the comments section!

Coffee Hour:
In 2014 Coffee Hour continued in the McDonel Hall basement, with special events like speed-dating before Valentine’s Day and a Persian New Year celebration. In January, Coffee Hour traveled to the new Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum for a special Coffee Hour event, with music and free tours of the art exhibits.

One World, Many Stories:
In March, OISS assisted with the One World, Many Stories program held for the final time at Red Cedar Elementary School in East Lansing. International students performed at a ceremony celebrating the importance of peace. Hundreds of children and families were able to see and take part in this great community program.


FIFA World Cup 2014:
In June, World Cup fever hit East Lansing. Games playing on the big screen in the International Center Food Court every day gave students, staff, faculty and families the opportunity to connect over the world’s favorite game. OISS hosted a free soccer clinic with training from the MSU Men’s Soccer Coaches for local children and students, as well.


International Student Association (ISA) Leadership Retreat:

The annual ISA Leadership Retreat brought (NUMBER) international student leaders together for a weekend of learning and community-building at the Kellogg Biological Center. Students worked on personal leadership skills and shared across cultural groups on how to best work together for the coming academic year.


Global Festival:
In November, the Global Festival returned to the newly-renovated MSU Union for another great event. With fantastic student performances, beautiful cultural displays and a busy World Gift Shop, the Global Festival drew in thousands of students and community members. For the first time this year the event offered interactive workshops where performers could teach audience members steps from their dances.


Video Project:
Starting in the fall semester, OISS joined the Office of Study Abroad, MRULE, OCAT and WRA faculty in creating videos where international and domestic students discuss their experiences in learning abroad. This will include thoughts on their heroes, on how to engage across culture, and more. Keep an eye out for your friends and classmates featured in these videos in the coming year!

OISS tried out some new technology for immigration announcements this year. If you missed it, here’s an example of a video on travel:

These videos are designed to be a fun, simple way to share information. More videos are in the works for 2015, including topics like updating your US address, SEVIS fees, and others. We also are creating an OPT module where students will be able to get application information to make for an easier process.

These are our highlights, now share with us your favorite moments of 2014!

Happy New Year from all of us at OISS — see you next year!

Student Expresses Herself Through Dance and Language

audrey 2

Audrey Beaumarchais is not your average college student. As a senior at Michigan State University, she is double majoring in International Relations (James Madison College) and Chinese with a minor in STEPPS (science technology environment and public policy). In addition to Audrey’s busy academic schedule, she has a passion for dance. Her unique interests have sparked great experiences for her at MSU. Her freshman year of college she joined the MSU Dance Team and she has also studied abroad in China. Read more about her college journey in our interview with her below.

“Why did you choose to study Chinese?”

“I have always been passionate about languages ever since I was young. I traveled to Europe in sixth grade with the People to People Student Ambassador program. We traveled to Italy, France, and Spain for five weeks during one summer. I attended private school from K-8th grade where I took Spanish classes. I continued taking Spanish and finished with Spanish four (the highest Spanish offered) my junior year. I also took German freshman year. That was an interesting experience, German first hour and Spanish second hour. I would sometimes mix up the languages causing my classmates and teachers to laugh. My senior year of high school I knew I wanted to continue learning new languages. We were able to dual enroll at a community college in my hometown. After some research I decided to take Chinese. I learned Chinese was the most spoken language in the world. I also knew about China’s growing economy and it’s position as a major trading partner of the United States. I thought this would be a great asset and compliment for what I wanted to study in college, International Relations. I had a great experience taking Chinese at Oakland Community College. When I was admitted to James Madison College here at MSU I learned that a degree requirement included taking two years of a foreign language. And so, I continued my Chinese studies here at MSU.”

“Describe your experience in China.”

“I went on a study abroad to China in the summer of 2013. I went with an MSU sponsored program and studied at the Harbin Institute of Technology in Harbin, China. During my three months there, I took language and cultural classes. During the trip I also was able to tour the capital city of Beijing, and the coastal city of Shanghai. I most enjoyed touring Shanghai. It reminds me of New York with obviously a Chinese twist. I learned Beijing was the cultural capital of China while Shanghai was the monetary/economic capital. During my time in China I experience pretty intense culture shock. When people ask about my experience over there I tell them it was very interesting. I grew a lot as a person. I think what made the culture shock so intense and so affective on me was the fact that I didn’t anticipate it because I never had had it before. I learned throughout my experiences there how to cope and became a stronger person.”

“Tell me about your experience being on the MSU Dance Team.”

“I have been dancing since I was three years old; making this year my 18th year dancing. Dance has been my literally been my life. My dad, mom, aunt, uncle, and grandpa all attended MSU. I used to accompany them all to football and basketball games when I was very young. I was a Spartan from birth and when choosing what college I wanted to go to,audrey 3 I had no hesitation choosing MSU. In my childhood room above my bed, I had a MSU Dance Team poster that my grandpa had given me. Ever since then, I knew I wanted to be a member when I was older. The fall of my freshman year here at MSU I got my chance. I auditioned for the team along with 70 other dancers for only two available spots. When I received the news in one of my JMC lectures I almost couldn’t contain my excitement. The next day I began my journey as an official member of the MSU Dance Team. As a member of the Dance Team, we have practices three days a week ranging from 2-3 hours per practice. We also participate in other events on campus and also athletic events, primarily men’s football, men’s and women’s basketball, and women’s volleyball. All in all, I am pretty busy with dance team commitments during the week. I love being able to represent MSU at all of these events but my favorite by far is on game day. For football season, while everyone else is tailgating we meet very early, sometimes even 4 hours before game time we meet to practice or perform at various tailgate appearances. Then we head over to Spartan Stadium, and every time I walk through the tunnel onto the field I am overwhelmed with happiness. The atmosphere in Spartan Stadium on game day is like no other and I am so thankful I am able to have the opportunity to dance and cheer on my Spartans at every home game. The same goes for basketball. The Breslin Center is also another one of my favorite places on game day for basketball.audrey 5 It is electrifying being on the court. Even though the atmosphere is different than football, I still love every second of it. It is amazing to watch Tom Izzo, one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history, coach. Some memories I will never forget as a member of the MSU Dance Team include, traveling and dancing at the 100th Rose Bowl Game in 2014 with a Spartan victory, traveling and dancing at the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, where the Spartans were named Big Ten Champions, and traveling to nationals with my team to compete with others from across the nation. Overall, I feel honored to be able to contribute and be a part of MSU through my involvement as a member of the MSU Dance Team.”

“Anything else you’d like to add?”

“Aside from game days, one of my most favorite experiences as a member of the MSU dance team was performing and speaking at the international student pep rally. At this event, my Chinese studies and my dance team involvement were able to overlap creating an awesome experience.”

10003888_10152161567380819_10958913_n-1Audrey was interviewed by Mara Ohorodnik, a senior at Michigan State University and the communication intern for the Office for International Students and Scholars. She loves interacting with international students and learning about different cultures. She has studied abroad in Thailand and hopes to continue traveling around the world. Mara is in the college of Communication Arts and Sciences and is also specializing in Health Promotion at MSU.

Student of the Month: Pedram Foushanji


When Pedram Foushanji was an undergraduate student in Kabul, Afghanistan, he was not planning on attending Michigan State. He was not mentally preparing for snow, a large campus, or Big Ten football games.The Fulbright Program had other plans. Pedram was awarded a scholarship to attend Michigan State University, and is now in his second year of his Masters within the Construction Management program.

When Pedram first arrived, he had a hard time understanding how vast the state and campus seemed to be in Michigan since his university in Afghanistan was so much smaller and dense. He has since gotten used to the lay of the land and enjoys traveling all over Michigan, especially to Detroit to attend concerts like Korn and Alter Bridge. In a typical week, you can find Pedram enjoying a meal at Saffron Grill, one of his favorite restaurants in the East Lansing area, hanging out in the International Center, or tailgating at Michigan State football games.

After graduation Pedram hopes to pursue a PhD, and would love to work for a construction company his family owns back home in Afghanistan. Returning to his family and being home in the downtown cafes and music venues is something he looks forward to. Pedram noted that, “Sometimes you need to be away from things to be able to fully appreciate them.”

Pedram started one of the first (and only) metal bands in Afghanistan with his brother, and plays the drums. The band, District Unknown, has an album out (Anatomy of a 24 Hour Life) and will soon be featured in a full-length documentary film.

We asked Pedram for advice and thoughts he would share with new incoming international students and he recalled a story of when he first arrived in East Lansing for International Student Orientation, he lost track of where he parked his bike, and got two Michigan State basketball players to help him find it, by merely describing the windows of the building of which he left it at. Pedram advises other international students to take winter seriously, and to expand their horizon beyond the major they are in, and the classes they are taking, “Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it here. No matter who you are or what your hobby is, there are many student organizations and groups.” And also, make sure you don’t turn the heat off in the winter, a mistake he’s made one too many times.

Pedram did not originally picture himself on the large campus of Michigan State, but he has turned his experience here into a positive adventure of traveling, studying hard, and building lifelong relationships.

W7XnfIL-swzMHCRIalzLxfiMDvmqiOQoWVkOsm-UNzMPedram Foushanji was interviewed by John Nowak, a senior at Michigan State and the OISS Sponsored Student Program intern. He has worked at OISS since last spring and enjoys meeting and interacting with sponsored students from all over the world. John is in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, and also is studying Spanish at MSU.

The Gast Business Library is Hosting an International Tea

The Gast Business Library is hosting an International Tea as a way to provide a friendly venue for interaction between our students and our librarians.  We want to increase awareness of the services that we can provide to aid the success of all of our business students!  For example, each major in the Broad College of Business has its own liaison librarian who can help students find resources for their classes. Come by to enjoy some tea, coffee and snacks and learn more!

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 7.27.38 PM

Photo courtesy of Communications and Brand Strategy.

The Gast Business Library’s mission is to support the academic success of the faculty, staff and students of the Broad College of Business and The School of Hospitality Business, as well as anyone in the MSU and local community looking for assistance with business research.

Location: Room 13 of the Gast Business Library. (The library is located in the Basement of the Law College Building)
Date: Wednesday, November 5
Time: 2:00-4:00pm

Please email Emily Treptow ( or message her on WeChat (treptowe) with any questions.

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 7.24.27 PM

Emily Treptow is a Business Reference Librarian at Michigan State University. She is specializing in International Business, Career Information, Marketing and Advertising. 


Wendy’s Student Success Story

As an international student, being faced with the task of employment can often be challenging. Many students would describe a successful college career by including at least one internship experience. While this can be true, it is not always the case for everyone as it depends on different factors.

I came to MSU as a finance major simply because I liked business and numbers. At the time, I did not know that a full college experience entailed much more than attending classes. Much of what I learned about Finance was only portion of what I was taught in class; it took a lot of effort to realize this. My experience from finding an internship to securing a full time job after graduation has been a combination of personal effort and using the vast resources the University offers.

When I was a freshman I joined three Business student organizations that were run by primarily non-international students. As an active member, I attended most, if not all, events to gain insight about creating my professional being. Most of the guest speakers sharing their insights would be professionals working in companies I admired. With time, I gained confidence to approach them after events, career fairs and in the hallways. It was nice to know my efforts to follow up worked as I got invitations for interviews – it was another task to figure out how to prepare for interviews.

Most companies that I had the opportunity to interview with had very behavioral based interviews. In the first rounds of interviews, I tailored my answers to qualities that the company valued most. When I was sure that I passed the initial screening and first and second interviews, I began following up with Human Resources (HR) more. This included me mentioning that I was an international student and would require work authorization prior to working, if I was hired. I did this later in the process because I did not want to lose the chance of getting considered as a candidate during the screening process. During second round interviews and after I had gained a bit more confidence. I ensured that I was very conversational with the interviewers. Knowing that I was an international student, I would utilize my experiences from living in different countries and used it to emphasize how a multi-cultural component was essential for organizations. This worked to my advantage more often than not and I was fortunate to have landed an internship with an Investment bank.

While I enjoyed my internship, I wanted to make sure that I was choosing the right career path. I knew that one of the main reasons companies hire interns is to see whether they would be a good full time employee. When offered a full time position approximately a month after my internship ended, I was extremely happy to know that I had secured something. However, I used the gap period before formally accepting an offer (a month in my case) to seek different opportunities. This was mainly to assure myself that whichever opportunity I went with was the final and right decision.

Knowing that I enjoyed my internship very much, I was not opposed to returning. Fast forward to 10 months later, I am now working in a company that I consider very admirable and I can gladly say that I am doing what I have wanted to do, or at least in the right path to doing so. As an international student, I know a little about transition and change- I think this is one of the most important elements when shifting to the working world. Just as I did moving to a different country, I had to adjust to a new state, job and lifestyle. I do miss the free in between classes’ time, the availability of going to the cafeteria and not having to cook after a long day and the option to skip classes if you felt as though you had everything in control (I didn’t do that). Now, I wake up at 6 and leave work at around 6. I only have weekends to enjoy and even then, I need to do laundry, cook for the week, catch up with family and do some readings/emails. If it seems as though I am complaining, I am not- it’s a simple truth that transitioning to an extremely occupied life makes you appreciate free time more. On the other hand, I enjoyed my 4 years of college to the point that I was ready for the next phase in life.

As a closing remark, enjoy college and be smart about your decisions for the future. Be strategic as you plan your exit opportunities and always put yourself first.

Wendy Emali is a 2014 graduate from the Broad College of Business (B.A., Finance) andis currently employed with Goldman Sachs.

You too can find a job like Wendy by applying for OPT (Optional Practical Training). OPT is defined as authorization for “temporary employment authorization directly related to
the field of study.” OPT employment authorization is granted for 12 months typically after completion of degree requirements for F-1 students.. Make use of MSU’s resources on how to apply so you can get on the right track for your career!

Attend the OPT Online session on October 24th from 1:00-2:00pm.  Go to on October 24th at 1:00pm to participate in this webinar. No pre-registration required!

Click here to read our OPT Mythbusters Series to learn about the common misperceptions students have about OPT. You can also learn more about how to apply for OPT on our website.

Entrepreneurship Spirit

“Entrepreneurship comes in many different forms. Some entrepreneurs create scalable technology companies others create humble, but essential, small retail businesses to serve their hometowns. The reality is that both types of business need one another to thrive, and although perhaps very different in regards to the type of product or service they provide they both have the same end goal which is to provide a solution that is valued by their customers.

Over the years many have tried to define the term “entrepreneurship,” but my favorite comes from Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson who defined the term as:

“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”

I like this definition because it implies that successful entrepreneurs pursue their passion regardless of what challenges lie ahead.

During your time at MSU I challenge you to develop this type of forward thinking mentality. With the right mindset and skillset to acquire resources, you can have a profound impact on the world.

And the good news is that MSU is here to help you along the way.

Over the last several years we, as a university, have begun to invest a good deal or energy and resources to provide students with the ideal setting to pursue their entrepreneurial spirit. The list of resources is quickly becoming too long to explore in one blog post but I would like to mention a few: we have a dedicated student business incubator called the Hatch (, a rapidly growing MSU Entrepreneurship Association student group (, multiple business plan competitions including the Broad College Competition ( and Green Light Michigan ( as well as our own Entrepreneurship Librarian in the Business College! All of these resources and learning experiences are open to you, so make sure to make the most of these opportunities.

In closing my post I would like to talk with you about a few curriculum based course opportunities that you should consider while at MSU.

First, this fall marks the opening of a new space in Wilson Hall called The Hive ( The Hive is a very unique “idea laboratory” classroom, which was developed under a partnership between the Broad College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Communication Arts & Sciences, MSU Innovation Center and Residential & Hospitality Services. This 4,600 space plays host to a number of unique student engagement opportunities, but the primary user is a new course called “Intro to Business Model Creation” – BUS 201 (740) for Spring 2015 (the course becomes BUS 170 next school year). This one credit course is a semester long experience where students work in teams to propose a new business idea and develop an actionable plan to take a product or service to market. It is a dynamic and engaging class that will get you thinking about the components needed to launch a venture.

Secondly, I would also like to encourage you to consider taking the course “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” – BUS 491 (002) for Spring 2015 (becoming BUS 190 next school year). This is a 3 credit course where students are exposed in much greater detail to the mindset, ideation process, and business plan development process necessary to launch and build a business. The course features many guest speakers so that you can learn firsthand from experienced entrepreneurs. It should be noted that this course is a requirement for those who are interested in pursuing the Entrepreneurship Specialization in the Business College which will soon be a university wide Minor.

I wish you all of the best in your endeavors and feel free to reach out to me if I can ever be of assistance. Go forth and do great things and as always, Go Green!”

Ken Szymusiak is Managing Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (IEI) at the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. The IEI is charged with developing and supporting entrepreneurship within the student body of Michigan State University through the development of curriculum, events, business plan competitions and support structures. Prior to joining MSU, Ken served as Co-Director of the New Economy Division at the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) where he co-managed a technology focused business incubator and worked to develop a culture of entrepreneurship in the Lansing region. Ken has been instrumental the development of Lansing Startup Weekend, The Hatching – Business Pitch Competition and Spartan Innovations’ Startup Boot Camp. Ken received his MBA from Northwood University and his Bachelors in Urban and Regional Planning from Michigan State University. Ken lives with his wife and daughter in East Lansing.

*Ken Szymusiak will be speaking at the Entrepreneurship Event on November 19th from 5:00-6:00pm in room 115 International Center. He’ll be among an expert panelist speaking about entrepreneurship and answering questions. Comment your questions below to have them submitted before the event!

Student of the Month: Hima Rawal


The Office for International Students and Scholars is excited to begin our “Student of the Month” series for the 2014-2015 school year. Each month an international student will be featured and highlighted on our blog, and in a display case outside the main office in the International Center. Stay tuned for great stories, fun facts, and insight from MSU’s very own international students!

Hima Rawal is more than 7,360 miles from her home in Dadeldhura, Nepal.

Far from her mother’s homemade dal bhat (a rice and lentil soup), far from her 13 year-old daughter Bandana, four year-old son Bardan, and her mother who watches over them while she studies in America.

Far from her uncle’s garden, a “dreamland” of flowers, apples, peaches, and plums that is flush all 12 months of the year. Far from her childhood home, now destroyed, that pops into her dreams every now and then.

But much closer to her dream of becoming a PhD candidate at one of the top public universities in the world.

Hima is one of the Office for International Students and Scholars’ sponsored students through the Fulbright program, and is in her second year at Michigan State. She is studying TESOL; Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Hima’s professor and role model in Nepal graduated from Michigan State in 2006 and returned to Nepal to teach. Hima learned about Michigan State through her professor and said that MSU has been her “dream university” ever since.

Hima says when she got to MSU, the thing she remembers most was the friendly staff, and recalls OISS advisor Nicole Namy being the greatest help during a time when she was stressed and overwhelmed.

“When I arrived, we had a list of things to do. Apply for a social security number, health insurance, bank accounts…I was running here and there, worried that I would not finish my paperwork in time. OISS makes everything so easy. They make you not worry about anything. Once you are at OISS, you feel that you are at home.”

When Hima isn’t busy studying, you can find her at Sindhu, an Indian restaurant in East Lansing where Hima can speak Nepali and Hindi with the waiters and cooks from Nepal. She finds comfort in talking to other international students and immigrants because they are experiencing similar feelings like homesickness and sometimes difficulty adjusting to life in the United States.

Hima looks forward to eventually bringing her children to the United States while she continues her studying.

For now, she will pass the days studying in the MSU library, cooking Nepali meals for other international students, clearing her head on the banks of the Red Cedar and occasionally dreaming of her uncle’s garden on the far Western side of Nepal, 7,360 miles away.

Hima Rawal

Major: TESOL, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Hometown: Dadeldhura, Nepal
Favorite food from home: dal bhat (rice and lentil soup)
Plans after graduation: Apply for PhD, bring children to the US
Favorite place in East Lansing: MSU Library, banks of the Red Cedar, Sindhu (Indian Restaurant)
When she’s not studying: Going out with classmates, having company for Nepali lunch or dinner in her home
Favorite place in Nepal: Her uncle’s garden, full of flowers and fruits year-round
Advice for other international students: If you need anything, let OISS be the resource to help you!


Hima was interviewed by John Nowak, a senior at Michigan State and the OISS Sponsored Student Program intern. He has worked at OISS since last spring and enjoys meeting and interacting with sponsored students from all over the world. John is in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, and also is studying Spanish at MSU.