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!

Immigration:

OISS tried out some new technology for immigration announcements this year. 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!