Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Dr. Karla Giuliano Sarr

Second Advisor

Dr. William Hoffa

Abstract

The decision to become an international student is a choice that is as challenging as it is rewarding, and is one that I am familiar with from both a professional and personal standpoint. Per a recent Open Doors’ account, 1,043,839 students from around the world have made the decision to study in the United States in 2016. These individuals make up 9% of New York State’s student population, and 10.1% of the State University of New York system (SUNY, 2016). Currently SUNY Oneonta is host to 56 of these international students, whom I was excited to work with through my practicum at SUNY Oneonta’s Office of International Education (OIE).

Fostering intercultural relationships, gaining a new perspective and broadening one’s world view are among the many benefits that are valued as an international student, yet encounters with cultural, academic and social barriers present challenges that can lead to confusion or isolation. As a result of my work and experience with this practicum, and interactions with the international students who are supported through the OIE and other campus resources, I have concluded that SUNY Oneonta greatly values these individuals.

There are many offices, programs and support systems that are designed to benefit international students on campus and I hypothesized that these specialized resources are readily available to this population, but I question the frequency in which they are used. To test this observation, I designed a study that would help me understand how international students felt they were being supported. I submitted a voluntary and anonymous survey for international students to comment on what they consider to be both beneficial and challenging aspects of life at SUNY Oneonta for the month of September 2017. Upon analysis of responses, I realized the data verified my initial observations but also made me aware of the larger context of international observation and how campus policy plays a role in international student satisfaction.

As SUNY Oneonta continues to make great strides toward Strategic Plan goals, introducing and applying definite internationalization policy that promote greater global integration on campus would not only benefit international students but domestic students as well. The purpose of this capstone is to better understand the methods that SUNY Oneonta employs as a host to create a satisfactory experience for their international students through resources and advising, and propose policies that can augment these efforts while facilitating progression towards greater internationalization on campus.

Disciplines

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Higher Education | International and Comparative Education