With approximately 3,000 international students on campus, Wayne State is focusing on not only their education, but their experience at the university.
Associate Vice President for Educational Outreach and International Programs Ahmad Ezzeddine leads the university’s academic, global and corporate educational outreach programs, according to the Office of the Provost website.
Ezzeddine said WSU uses a variety of tools to recruit international students, including personal visits to recruiting fairs and schools in other countries.
“There is a decrease in international applications that is being reported across the country, including at WSU,” he said. “It is still too early to predict the full impact on enrollments yet. We are, however, monitoring the situation and focusing on reaching out to our admitted students to ensure our yield is positive.”
Although there is a decrease in international applications, Ezzeddine said it’s important to have an international student population at WSU.
“We want Wayne State to mirror the world around us, which is multicultural and multidimensional,” he said. “An international student presence at WSU means our domestic students are exposed to different ideas and mores that will better prepare them for life, the workplace or additional studies and ensure they are ready to interact with people from a variety of cultures. We know that many of our students may not have the means to travel or study internationally, so we must bring more of the world onto campus.”
He went on to say that gaining global experiences and competencies are a must on campus and in today’s world.
“This is important for all of our students’ learning journey and must be pursued either abroad or at home. Our international students, in particular, play a major role in bringing the world to the WSU campus and providing those opportunities right here in Detroit,” Ezzeddine said. “They enrich the campus and it’s hard to overstate their importance to the university. We want international students to know that we are open and welcoming, and they can have a great experience here.”
He said the largest number of international students comes from India, followed by Canada, China and Saudi Arabia. The majority of international students at WSU are graduate students enrolled in STEM fields.
“Our staff in the Office of International Students and Scholars is specially trained to help prospective and admitted students adjust to life in the United States and on campus. They assist students with visa and medical forms, explain requirements for things such as health insurance and host mandatory immigration 101 and check-in sessions,” Ezzeddine said.
“Besides the regulatory issues the OISS staff manages, they help with day-to-day issues like finding a ride to the grocery store or arranging a group shopping trip to Great Lakes Crossing so students can buy snow boots. There are a variety of cultural outings during the year that range from skating at Campus Martius Park to visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts to riding the Millennium Force at Cedar Point.”
At the undergraduate level, highly qualified new international freshmen, Ezzeddine said, are eligible for WSU merit scholarships, including the Warrior Award, Gold Award and Green Award. International graduate students can apply for assistantships, which vary by department.
He said undergraduate degree-seeking students who live in Ontario receive the Great Lakes Award, which allows eligible students to pay only 10 percent above Michigan-resident rates. Graduate and professional students who are residents of Ontario and enrolled in eligible academic programs pay in-state tuition. This does not apply to students in the School of Medicine MD program or the Doctor of Pharmacy program.
“Both programs significantly reduce the cost of an international education,” Ezzeddine said.
Every other Wednesday throughout the academic year, OISS hosts International Coffee Hour in the Living Room of The Towers, which is a place for international students and scholars to meet each other and local WSU students who want to get to know our international population.
Coffee Hour can include information sessions from academic departments, or career workshops, or even Jeopardy tournaments, Ezzeddine said.
“The Conversation Partners program through the English Language Institute pairs international and American students, who meet weekly outside of class to talk about whatever they want,” he said. “It’s a casual program that can help an international student gain confidence in their English speaking ability while also, we hope, building friendships.”