International students spend summer away from home

During a parade to celebrate International Week, students walked across campus carrying the flags of many different students' home countries on April 4, 2016. (File Photo by Miranda Snyder | The Collegian)

International students are a big part of the K-State family. According to K-State’s International Admissions and Recruiting webpage, more than 2,000 international students came to K-State from all over the world this year.

Summer vacations give international students a lot of time to either go back to their home countries or stay in the U.S. Some of them go back, but there are a lot of others who stay in Manhattan specifically to take classes in order to graduate on time.

Ali Mohammed Alghobari, sophomore from Saudi Arabia in mechanical and nuclear engineering, said he came to K-State because his brother was already studying here.

Alghobari usually stays in Manhattan over the summer to get done with some classes and goes back home during winter break to spend Christmas with his family.

“I think the best time of the year is when I get to see my family again, but I’m a student now and I have a period of time to finish all my classes before I can go back to my country,” Alghobari said. “I would say (it) is better for international students to just stay here and finish classes first so that after they graduate, they can go back to their countries forever.”

Yi Yang Chen, senior from Taiwan in management, said he loves living in Manhattan because of the college town environment.

Chen said he is planning to graduate in December and that is why he decided to stay this summer for the first time.

“This is actually my first time staying here over the summer,” Chen said. “I need to take a few courses and study for some tests to get into graduate school.”

He also said he thinks it is best for international students to stay in the U.S. as much as possible to help them become better with the language. Chen has been living in the U.S. for eight years now and he goes back to Taiwan every six months.

Omar Khawari, junior from Kuwait in civil engineering, said he is here on a scholarship. As a result, he can study in the U.S. for a limited amount of time so he usually stays in the summer to take some classes.

Khawari said he lives with his brother and two cousins, and that there are a lot of other people from his country with whom they have become friends. During summertime, he, his friends and family like to go to the city pool, play cards and have barbecues at the lake. He said they enjoy doing different activities together and it makes them feel closer to home.

Even though missing home can be a constant part of international students’ lives, Khawari said finding friends who help them feel at home makes it easier for them to keep studying and earn their degrees on time so they can go back home.

Editor's Note:

Due to a Collegian error in an earlier version of this story, Omar Khawari was incorrectly said to be from Qatar. He is from Kuwait.