Guiding Global Leaders
International Student Center Director, Negar Davis supports international excellence.
For International Student Center Director Negar Davis, embracing and promoting diversity is an important part of the job description.
“Diversity to me is everything from gender to culture to languages to traditions and values...” Davis said. “I want for our students and future leaders to have the global citizenship stamp, and to be able to live in a global society.”
The San Diego State University International Student Center certainly plays a big role in the creation of a diverse campus community. Through its many functions, the center is working to bring in and retain foreign students, as well as encouraging SDSU students to explore foreign countries.
One crucial function of the International Student Center is helping international students adjust to life at San Diego State. The task is not an easy one, especially given the more than 1700 students from upwards of 90 countries that study at SDSU on a given year. To help foreign students acclimate to the campus environment and build relationships, the student center offers a comprehensive orientation program. The orientation includes a variety of information sessions, social engagement opportunities and an introduction to the team of International Student Advisors. These advisors are full-time staff who are trained to deal with the specialized issues that international students face. They are well versed on everything from immigration law and student visa status to employment opportunities and academic resources.
Once international students have been acclimated to life at SDSU, the international center turns its attention toward keeping the students engaged. The International Student Association regularly puts on campus events such as the International Peace Village – an annual event where student organizations get together to showcase cultures from various parts of the world. ISA also has events including international coffee hours, a cooking-round-the-world potluck, international film showings and more. The international student center also encourages international students to become engaged with the greater San Diego community through programs like Intercultural Ambassadors. Each spring, ten international students are selected and provided the resources to visit participating elementary schools and share their culture with the children.
The International Student Center is also responsible for facilitating education abroad experiences for SDSU students. Davis says they try to start introducing the possibilities of study abroad when students are freshmen. SDSU more than 100 exchange programs with universities around the globe. Additionally many of the university’s academic programs are now including a study abroad experience as part of the graduation requirements. In response to this growing trend toward study abroad requirements, the International Student Center staff is trained to help students select programs that meet all their needs.
“We send students to destinations where they not only thrive academically, but thrive culturally and linguistically,” Davis said.
Aside from Study Abroad Fairs, international students also put on country specific presentations for SDSU students who might be interested in visiting those countries. Davis said they are also working to encourage more minority students and diverse students to study abroad.