ASU has been named the No. 1 public University for international students according to the 2022 Institute of International Education Open Doors Report. The University hosts over 15,000 international students from over 157 countries, with numerous resources and programs developed to support international students at ASU, including the Coalition of International Students.
CIS comprises over 50 international student organizations, hosts events and provides resources to create a community for international students within the greater ASU student body. They host monthly town halls, culture celebration events, and offer specific resources like the International Students and Scholars Center and the ASU Global Peer Mentor Program.
Leaders of CIS said the organization has played an important role in their university experience, as well as for other international students and the greater University. They also noted that international students are often drawn to ASU because of the large number of scholarships and the support networks ASU provides.
"When I see ASU as an affordable option while also being high ranked, it's worth it to come," said Erlang Liu, the Vice President of CIS and a sophomore studying business entrepreneurship.
Edward Lee, the marketing director of CIS and a sophomore studying marketing, said ASU's ISSC is incredibly advanced compared to other international programs.
"We have our own website, we have our own software engineers that design our own websites to make it a lot easier for international students to fill out their forms for immigration purposes," Lee said.
The process of coming to study at ASU can be incredibly complicated for many international students, and the ISSC and career center work to help students with the documentation processes, taxes, and post-graduation career opportunities.
Misa Tran, a freshman studying business data analytics and an Advocacy Associate for CIS said ASU’s community was a significant aspect of her decision to study here.
“ASU is a really big networking school," Tran said. "We share a lot of cultural differences and diversity, and I think that is the most important part for all of us. We need to find a supportive environment where we feel welcome and are able to extend to our fullest potential, so that's why ASU is perfect."
The students also mentioned how other aspects, such as safety, affected their decision to come to ASU.
"One of the most important things for my family was, 'Is my child going to a place that is safe?' and Tempe specifically is quite a safe place to be," said Malek Attar, a Global Peer Mentor and masters student studying industrial design. "I think that's attributed to the resources that are put into place."
He referenced the ASU Police Department, the safety alert system, and the mental health and counseling systems.
International students still acknowledge that there are things that could be improved. Attar said that although the resources for students are there, they often aren't communicated in a way that reaches students.
"It's only a small percentage of students that are actually utilizing these resources," Attar said. "When the main source of communication is email, and most of them don't even check it, then a lot is going kind of to waste. I think we need to be where the students are."
Lee said career fairs at ASU have few opportunities for international students. He mentioned that the ISSC has worked hard to address this problem but has only started the process this year.
"It's a little heartbreaking to see that there's only a few out of the thirty or fifty companies at the career fair that are hiring international students," Lee said.
Liu said that he wished there were more chances for international and domestic students to learn from one another and experience each other's cultures.
"We, as international students, come here far from home," Liu said. "We feel isolated, we feel separate and then we want to get involved with Americans specifically; that's how you get out of your comfort zone. I wish ASU could have some kind of program that can help international and domestic students to bond together."
Liu said he hopes CIS can continue to be a place where students, both international and domestic, can celebrate each other. CIS hosted its yearly International Night, which Liu said was “a night where everyone from different parts of the world can come in together and enjoy seeing performances from their own country and also from other countries as well."
All four of the students mentioned their experiences with the student culture at ASU as an international student has been very positive.
"The community is very welcoming ... I never experienced any kind of barriers to socialize," Attar said.
Lee said CIS plays an important role in his life here at ASU. He called CIS home and that it helps him feel apart of the community.
The CIS office and community space are located on the second floor of the Student Pavilion and offer a place for international students looking for unity and support.
"CIS is always your home, no matter what," Liu said. "Anyone can join us and we are welcoming you."
Edited by Alysa Horton, Damian Goacher, Walker Smith and Caera Learmonth.