MAGNOLIA -- The International Program at Southern Arkansas University draws students from all over the globe. Currently, there are 174 students from 31 different countries enrolled at the University, with 100 of those from India alone. These numbers, which are typically over 200 each year, are down due to COVID-19.

International students are drawn to SAU for many reasons, but overall because of the variety of programs offered; the feeling of living in a small, personable town; and the fact that SAU is affordable for so many.

Adeyemi Adediran, a senior accounting major with a double minor in finance and information systems from Lagos, Nigeria, knew SAU’s International Program was the right place for him to be.

“I came to SAU when I was 17, but I originally received my admission at the age of 16,” said Adediran. “One of the things that stood out to me, aside from the fact that you get quality education at an affordable rate, was how welcoming and efficient the staff was during the application process compared to other schools. This made me feel like SAU has an extremely friendly and relaxed atmosphere but still maintains a high level of professionalism.”

SAU recognizes the many challenges of being an international student transitioning into college, and adjusting to living in a different country and offers an International Student Mentorship Program to help these students thrive in their new environment.

“The International Student Mentorship Program is designed for a new international student to be assigned a current international student to help them adjust to SAU’s campus culture,” said Adediran. “Being an international student can be quite challenging, especially in your first semester, and this program really helped with that.”

The Global Center, a building on SAU’s campus, provides a place for all international students to hang out, play pool and other games, as well as congregate between classes. Before COVID-19, there were weekly events to provide activities for international students to get to know each other, build relationships and have fun.

“International students are a huge part of SAU’s culture,” said Victor Duke, Director of International Student Services.  “Seeing the students get here and immediately have someone to guide them, and seeing them develop relationships with other students and teachers, is the best thing about working with international students. Being away from home is not easy, but with the help of the SAU faculty, staff and community, these students feel at ease to be in a great school that will help them succeed.”

“SAU and its community treats everyone like a family,” Adediran continued, “and the high level of willingness to help is certainly something to write back home about.”

To learn more about International Student Services, visit https://web.saumag.edu/international/tour/.

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