Firefly Storytelling brings adventures to life at the East Lansing Public Library

Have you ever swallowed a Monopoly piece? Have you seen the Northern Lights, or had a spectacular crash on your bike? Maybe you haven’t lived through these adventures yourself, but those who attended the One World, Many Stories event “Firefly Storytelling” on Friday night had a chance to hear about them firsthand from local children who did!

The Office for International Students and Scholars connected with some of the youngest members of our community in collaboration with the Family Resource Center, CELTA and the East Lansing Public Library created Firefly Storytelling. The program, inspired by the famous public radio show The Moth, asked local K-5 school children to tell a story about their biggest adventure. After auditions, fourteen children were selected to present their stories. Check out photos from their auditions here.

Over 100 community members gathered at the library to watch the stories and enjoy pizza provided by the Friends of the East Lansing Public Library. The children’s stories touched on a variety of subjects from swallowing a monopoly piece to losing a beloved pet to trying make it to Christmas through fire, ice and fallen trees. An esteemed panel of judges watched the stories before selecting three winners. Each child received this year’s One World, Many Stories book: “The World is Waiting for You” by Barbara Kerley. The evening was filled with laughter and an appreciation for young children’s storytelling.

This event would not have been a success without the partnership between OISS, the Family Resource Center, CELTA and the East Lansing Public Library. We would also like to thank the volunteers who helped out at auditions and our judges Dean Dr. Stephen Esquith, Superintendent Dr. Robyne Thompson, Mayor Nathan Triplett and Library Director Kristin Shelley. We hope you enjoy some of the great pictures of this event courtesy of CELTA.

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10 Fun Facts about James – Welcome OISS New Director to MSU

james-dorsettHave you met with our new Director James Dorsett yet? It’s his second week of working at Michigan State University. James previously worked at the International Students and Scholars at Iowa State University and he has worked within the international education field for over 20 years. OISS is very excited to have him join our office and Spartan family. To help our students, campus partners and community members get to know more about him, we interviewed James and collected 10 fun facts about James.

1. If you could only eat one kind of food for the rest of your life, what will it be?

Meat—probably chicken or pork. 

2. What is your next travel destination without considering time and money restrictions?

I would like to go to Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Egypt on an ancient history tour to see ancient Hittite, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Egyptian ruins. 

3. What’s your favorite thing about MSU so far?

Meeting the students who work in OISS and finding out all the cool things they are doing or will do after they graduate.

(Editor’s note: By the way, OISS is hiring new interns! See details here.)

4. Do you speak a language other than English?

Dutch pretty well, and less so Russian.

5. What are your favorite show and movie?

My favorite show of the moment is a Korean drama called Blood.  But probably my favorite TV show of all time Doctor Who.

6. If you can go back to anytime in the history, who do you want to meet and what will you tell that person?

I would meet Julius Caesar and try to persuade him not to go to the Senate on the Ides of March.

7. What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor? 


8. What will you do if you win the lottery?

Travel, live abroad, and set up a nonprofit foundation to give money to help with international education and other charities.

9. What is the proudest moment in your life?

When I got married.

10. If you can only take 3 things with you to an isolated island, what will they be?

My piano, my notebook of favorite piano music, and my collection of Brian Jacques books. 

Did you see any mutual interest between you and James or interesting topics you want to talk further with him? Come meet James at a special Coffee Hour this Friday March 27 from 4-6pm in McDonel Hall’s Lower Level Lounge. There will be coffee and tea plus special Spartan cookies to welcome James to MSU – hope to see you there!

Want to know more about James’ experience? See the article “OISS Welcomes New Director” from MSUToday.

Yingmin (Grace) Li’s Guide to Success

Yingmin (Grace) Li is an international student from China in her senior year at Michigan State University studying Supply Chain Management. She has had a number of Grace 2experiences that have contributed to her professional development during her college career. Between classes, tutoring, and internships, Grace has been busy growing her skills and preparing for her future. Her hard work and dedication paid off, landing her a full time position with PwC upon graduating. So how did Grace do it? In our interview with her she tells all- from preparing for a job to utilizing on-campus resources. Get the inside scope on how to successfully prepare, find and maintain a job.


“Be brave and share your ideas with your classmates. Contribute everything you can for a group and maintain good relationships.”

Whether we want to believe it or not, GPA does matters. Maintaining a high GPA is important, especially when applying for jobs because that’s one of the first things recruiters look at. Sometimes they want students to have a certain GPA or else they won’t even consider them. Grace mentioned that some students get a full-time job after interviewing if they have a high GPA. Good GPA’s can take students to Graduate school too. Grace also shared with us her strategies to keeping up with academics.

  1. Study on your own. Group studies lead to people chatting and not getting work done.
  2. Go to professor’s office hours.
  3. Resource center and tutoring services are free and really helpful.
  4. The writing center is a good place to go or other free tutoring sessions in neighborhoods.

 Professional Development

Building Your Skills

Before Grace could apply for internships, she knew she had to gain more experience in order to expand her skillset. She started by working on-campus in the cafeteria in order to improve her communication skills.

“I would always go talk to someone first so I could have a conversation with them and practice my oral skills,” she explained. “Communication skills are the basics for everything you do.”

 Aside from her on-campus job, Grace also volunteered as an underclassman at a local elementary school, was an ambassador for MSU’s Career Fair and offered free tutoring for a Chinese class. Grace found these opportunities by asking around and through MSU’s student service resources. In the spring of 2014, Grace began tutoring marketing statistics students on campus up to ten hours a week through the Multicultural Business Program at MSU.

Additionally, Grace also took the opportunity to become actively involved in student organizations on-campus. She is a member of the Supply Chain Management Association, Multicultural Business Association and Leadership Institute at MSU. Joining these groups on-campus gave Grace the basics for networking.

“Being involved in groups on campus is good for your resume and for finding a job,” Said Grace.

Her involvement on campus gave Grace an advantage when applying for jobs and helped her build skills that she will use for her future.

Job Search

Interview Process

The interview process isn’t the same for every employer but Grace was able to provide details of her experience interviewing with PwC. Initially, Grace had a one-on-one interview with them on campus. Then Grace got called in to go for a second interview that took place on site at PwC. The on site interview consisted of three rounds. The two rounds were very basic and contained behavioral questions. One round, however, was much different. In this round Grace was given a case about temporary worker issues and she had 45 minutes to prepare ideas on how to resolve these issues, which she then had to present. When you go in for an interview you don’t always know what to expect so it’s important to prepare. Grace used a number of resources to help her get ready for her interview. First she looked up interview skills and techniques online. She found the website GlassDoor helpful because people post about their past interviews so she was able to get an idea of what to expect. Before an interview it’s crucial to research the company and know their missions. And lastly, practice makes perfect. “I had previous interviews that didn’t work but those helped me prepare for this one,” Grace noted.

Internship Life

Grace got her first internship in January of her junior year at MSU with the company Magna Mirrors, an international supplier to the automotive industry and one of the largest manufacturers of automotive mirror and vision systems. Magna Mirrors is located in Holland, Michigan where Grace was hired in as a paid, part-time Materials Management Intern. She received a referral, which helped her land this internship. Grace managed inventory and production scheduling as well as coordinating shipments between plants and handling anything else related to materials. During her 2014 spring semester, Grace was taking 12 credits while commuting back and forth to Holland for her internship. She said overall that she liked the internship and the commute wasn’t that bad.

Grace1 Once Grace’s spring semester was over, Magna Mirrors offered Grace a full-time internship with them for the summer. Grace accepted their offer and picked up her things in East Lansing and relocated to the west side of Michigan for the duration of her internship. Upon completing her Magna Mirrors internship, Grace received a new internship opportunity as a Supply Chain Intern in downtown Lansing with Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which offers resources for companies interested in doing business in Michigan. Grace found out about this internship on MySpartanCareer and applied through the website. One of Grace’s favorite things about her internship was that she could actually apply her supply chain management skills that she learned in her classes. She also appreciated her good relationships with her friendly co-workers and managers by saying, “It was really valuable for me.” Her co-workers helped Grace gain confidence in her work.

Navigating the Workplace

With any job, there will be challenges to overcome in order to grow and succeed. Graced shared some of the struggles she faced at first as an intern. “I was kind of shy and didn’t know how to network,” she said. “That was the most difficult thing for me in my first internship but in my second internship I think I was fine.” She continued saying,

“Networking is a shortcoming for me because I’m not quite sure how to network with others. This is an area I need to improve on in the future.” Grace4

Networking is a very important tool to have in the workplace that can help you advance in your career. Grace also mentioned, “Sometimes they [co-workers] were joking around and using words I don’t understand. There was a language barrier but I’m improving.” Language barriers can sometimes make it more difficult to network but Grace has improved her skills greatly thanks to her internship experiences.

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.