International students attend K-State for atmosphere, variety of choices

Paula Mendez, sophomore in computer sciences and president of International Buddies (seated left), leads the International Buddies meeting at the International Student Center on Oct. 5, 2015. International Buddies pairs local K-State students, staff, and community members with international students, scholars, and family members. (Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

Approximately 8.5 percent of K-State’s student population are foreign exchange students, and this semester the number of students from abroad totals 2,058, according to K-State’s International Student and Scholar Services.

With 799 students studying abroad, China accounts for 39 percent of the total international student population. Jingyi Zhu, junior in accounting and international student from China, said she chose K-State because she heard great things about K-State prior to coming to campus.

“I had friend who had attended K-State, and they encouraged me to come,” Zhu said. “I was also very impressed with the accolades K-State has received, which I researched online.”

Zhu also said that although coming to the U.S. was a big transition, having other Chinese students around her helped.

“Everyone at K-State has been very helpful,” Zhu said. “Even from the beginning there has always been someone who has been willing to help me.”

Kara Warren, graduate student in counseling and student development and student support coordinator at the International Student Center, said education is the most important reason students come to K-State. Many students understand the distractions that come with going to college and that geographically Manhattan appears to have less distractions to international students, Warren said.

“Many students choose K-State because of its location,” Warren said. “There are not a lot of distractions in Manhattan.”

But to some, Manhattan seems millions of miles away from home.

Vira Patel, senior in electrical engineering and international student from India, said that although transitioning to a new culture and being so far away from home can be difficult, it is worth it.

“Manhattan is a really cool place to study,” Patel said. “What I like most about K-state is the people; they helped me get settled and are really helpful.”

Currently, 138 other students from India are studying with Patel. These students are the second highest international student population on campus, according to the International Student and Scholar Services.

Patel said she learned about K-State from her brother, an alum. Using online research and her brother’s guidance, she said she made the choice to come to Manhattan after studying science for two years at a university in India.

“In India, most students only have three options of study: science, commerce or art,” Patel said. “Those are the only options to choose from.”

Warren said that in some countries, not everyone gets to pick their major, or have that many choices. She said this is another reason many students choose K-State, because it gives them the chance to study a subject they are passionate about.