2015: An OISS Year in Review
MSU and OISS brought a number of exciting and inspirational events to the year 2015. Spartans gathered together in times when unity mattered most because SPARTANS WILL stand together. The celebrations of MSU’s football team defeating U of M and Iowa were among the many important highlights of our sports teams this year. OISS welcomed our new Director James Dorsett to our family as well as 1,000 new undergraduate international students at IAOP in August.
So many important and monumental events happened in 2015 and we want to highlight some of those in this blog. We would love to see some more moments that are important to you in the comments section!
The OISS Coffee Hours kicked off with a bang in September in the basement of McDonel Hall. Many international and domestic students gathered for coffee and tea and to enjoy talking with others from all parts of the world. In November, coffee hour was hosted at Spartan Stadium where MSU Career Services helped students with resumes and cover lettersThe semester ended with a holiday coffee hour at the Broad Art Museum that included festive treats and holiday colors all around.
The 2015 Globie Awards were hosted in April, honoring those in the community that needed to be recognized for their amazing contributions to internationalization. The reception was held at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum and the three winners were Pam Sievers from CVIP, Bristol Day who created programming for international students in the residence halls and the Muslim Students’ Association.
In June, OISS took on Mackinaw Island with 100 students eating fudge, riding bikes around the island and exploring Michigan’s breathtaking sights on a beautiful spring day! In October, OISS ventured all the way to Toledo, Ohio for Halloweekends at Cedar Point. Students were spooked and scared and thrilled on Cedar Point’s largest rides.
IAOP (International Academic Orientation Program):
We welcomed 1,000 international students at IAOP in August 2015. New this year was Spartan Preview, a series of videos where students could watch directions, how to videos and important immigration updates. It’s all a part of OISS trying to make orientation as smooth, easy for students and fun as possible. We also had 112 IAOP orientation leaders that made orientation so successful. The fun wasn’t in short supply, as IAOP week featured a global dance party, karaoke night and a Spartan spirit event!
International Student Association (ISA) Leadership Retreat:
In October, 70 students, staff from OISS and guest speakers traveled to the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) in Hickory Corners, Michigan for the ISA Leadership Retreat. Every year, ISA puts together a weekend long leadership retreat at KBS with the help of OISS and financial support from ASMSU. Students participate in leadership exercises, social events and listen to guest speakers.
Over 70 wonderful essays were submitted for the In My Shoes Essay Contest and three top essays were chosen. The essay reception was held in November and honored the tree top winners and the honorable mentions!
MSU China Experience Partnership:
One of the most amazing experiences we got to see at an MSU football game was a China-themed half time show. The colors and formations by the band were incredible and this half time was different than any other. The students and community members gave positive feedback on how much they enjoyed this show.
Global Festival was back at the union and a huge success as community members, students, family members and people from all over the area came to enjoy cultural performances, a fashion show and international street food. Thousands of people came to enjoy this event and many families stopped by the international booths run by student groups, participated in interactive workshops and purchased items from the World Gift Shop.
Our communications channels have also seen a lot of updating and attention in 2015. The OISS weekly video special editions, immigration animated videos and international student career videos are just a few of the examples that OISS has added in 2015. Joy Walter and Skyin Yin have enjoyed updating students through the fun weekly videos and more graphics have been added to the e-newsletter and weekly too.
Intercultural Communication Training for MSU Units:
There has been recent intercultural communication training for MSU units such as the Communication Arts & Sciences faculty, Chinese Pronunciation workshops with the Confucious Institute at MSU, and also to Residence Hall Aids.
There have been career strategies event for International Students such as the “Building Your Employer Network” with MSU Career Services and “Hiring International Students” with Global Business Club of Mid-Michigan. We are hoping to bring international students together next year for more volunteer experience so stay tuned!
International Students & Scholars Health:
2015 has been a big focus for international students and scholars health. There have been new health videos including, “How To Seek Medical Help At Olin.” OISS hosted the “Halloween Vaccine” event at the International Center where families could come and get low cost or free vaccines. It was a special Halloween event for kids too with games, prizes and candy!
To better connect with our students, the immigration team has created several animation videos that simplifies the complex immigration information. The videos are available on our social media like Youtube and Vimeo(for places without access to Youtube).
We have also created an online Optional Practical Training (OPT) course that is very informative. This free online course will be required by all students who wish to apply for OPT.
The format for the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status,” has changed as of June 26, 2015. The immigration team has completed the reprinting of more than 2,500 redesigned I-20s. All F-1 students and their dependents must receive the redesigned I-20 before May 2016.
Starting January 2015, students are encouraged to make appointments through the MSU advisor’s calendar. The advisor’s calendar gives students the freedom to make appointments with OISS at their convenience.
What are your favorite memories from 2015? We would love to hear them!
Happy New Year from all of us at OISS — see you next year!