This semester, more than 1,800 international students are enrolled at Missouri State University, with 1,001 of them physically on the Springfield campus. To recognize the diversity these students bring to campus and build inclusion, Missouri State has established International Education Month each November.
“International students bring a lot to the Springfield community,” said Samantha Francka, marketing and communications coordinator for international programs at Missouri State. “We’ll have different events and banquets and festivals that we’ll celebrate in November.
“And then we’ll also have different events for international students specifically that may be help them with career preparation or help them understand how to use Missouri State resources. It’s just a time for us to really focus on our international students and what they need. And then what they bring to the Springfield community.”
Be an International Friend
To give the international students another opportunity to get off campus and interact with the local community, there’s also the International Friends program. Although it has existed for years, there was a major outpouring for the program early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had hundreds of people email and call and say ‘how can I support students?’ That was really lovely to see when everything was so hard,” Francka said.
Now that events can be held in-person again, the International Friends program is pursuing more opportunities for the students in the community.
“Obviously there’s cultural exchange between local families and students, but students can be engaged in the community in the ways that your family are engaged,” she said.
They are currently looking for families and individuals to participate.