Why did I choose this university?
As an international student from Pakistan, I was not exposed to the idea of students conducting research at the undergraduate level before applying to colleges in the US. What attracted me most about Mizzou was the fact that it is an R1 research institute, a university with the highest level of research activity, which means that as a student I would have the opportunity to join a lab working on any topic I could think of. Also, being a large institution, I saw that there were countless opportunities present for extra-curricular activities and clubs with all sorts of interests. As I had already decided to major in Physics, Mizzou’s Physics department was particularly appealing to me with the highly accomplished faculty and the small class sizes.
My expectations were met on all fronts. I was able to find a lab that was not in my department but still relevant to my interests, participating in the extra-curricular opportunities present has not only helped me develop as a student but also as an individual, and the close interaction with faculty has really helped me throughout my coursework and helped me to make lasting connections.
My first week
As a generally timid person, being in a new country was quite overwhelming. The campus being, as large as it is, was not easy to navigate either. But I found that everyone was extremely friendly and I very quickly became involved with research, the Physics department and with other international students here at Mizzou. The general nice attitude of the people in Columbia along with the plethora of opportunities made me convinced that I had made the right choice in attending Mizzou. There is something here for everybody.
My biggest challenge was facing the culture-shock: different ways of talking, dressing, and behaving. But with help from friends and the International Center, I was very quickly able to adapt to my new home in Columbia.
As a student who has always been interested in space and the intricate workings of the universe, I decided to pick Physics as my major. But once I was exposed to different fields during my coursework, my interest shifted from Astrophysics to more interdisciplinary work such as Biophysics and Biochemistry. I have been working with Dr. Lakshmi Pulakat in the Department of Cardiology since my freshman year. Exposure to biomedical research has not only helped me to see where there is a need for further research but also how physical interrogation of biological systems has provided information on problems where traditional biochemical techniques cannot be applied (eg. X-ray crystallography, MRI etc) and how it can continue to provide critical insight into the questions we face today.
Following the same theme, one of my favorite classes has been Single Molecule Biophysics in which we learned how physical principles can be used to explain the behavior of molecules at the cellular level and how techniques such as Optical tweezers and Atomic Force Microscopy can be used to probe the function of biomolecules. In fact, we even got to see optical tweezers from our professor’s laboratory in action: trapping a dust particle inside a laser beam.
I have an avid interest in drawing as well as in music. Mizzou’s quads are a great place to relax and I’ve spent quite some time there after finals to de-stress. The student unions are also great places to hang out with friends and for people interested in great music, the Blue Note is a required place to visit.
I have been involved with the Society of Physics students since my first semester at Mizzou and I had the honor of being Treasurer and President during the past two years. I have also tried to become more involved with the International Center and I have served as Volunteer Coordinator twice for the International Students Welcome.
The biggest change I have noticed since my time here at Mizzou is an increasing openness to experience and a significant decrease in “shyness”. I’m certain the opportunities to become involved here at Mizzou are what helped me to develop my interpersonal skills and seek out chances to engage with others and develop as a student.
My learning space
As an Undergraduate Research Assistant, I usually spend a complete working day (9am -5pm) on campus either in classes or in a lab. Since I spend a fair amount of time on campus, I can confidently say that Mizzou greatly caters to the needs of its students. From the great libraries to on-campus dining and the Tiger Line (Mizzou’s free shuttle service), there are a lot of great resources here to help you out.
As an off-campus commuter, the Tiger Line has been immensely helpful for traveling, especially after late nights at work because it still runs past midnight. And the access to scientific literature available from the libraries has been immensely important for my work in research.
And if you’re looking for a good place to study outside of class, you can either go the library or find a quiet room in one of the academic buildings; the coffee shops in downtown are also great for some light reading.
Mizzou has a lot of buildings with beautiful architecture and deep historical connections. The most striking of these are Jesse Hall, the Columns, and Memorial Union so they are definitely a must for any tour but Ellis Library would be a really good stop as well. Other conventional sights would be Mizzou’s great quads and Tiger Plaza but something I really enjoy is the juxtaposition of the old and the ultra modern. You can see this difference between the Student Center and its surrounding buildings as well as the Bond Life Sciences Building and the monolithic Physics building (home base) right opposite to it.
How would you summarize your overall MU experience in a paragraph? What advice would you have for future International undergraduate students thinking about coming to Mizzou?
First, I would say my experience at Mizzou had been very eye-opening. Seeing the workings of another culture really broadens your understanding of how people are and how the world works and strongly encourages you to be more accepting. Specifically pertaining to Mizzou, I would again go back to the vast opportunities available: becoming involved on campus has been an integral part of my Mizzou experience and has affected me greatly and has been part of my impetus to improve academically and socially. Because of this, I would urge prospective International Student to not only take advantage of access to the renowned scholars and researchers present on campus but also to engage outside of class to achieve a truly well-rounded college experience. And if you have any problems, know that there are resources to help you out so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
International students face many challenges. You have to adjust to a new culture, language, food and academic demands. Another challenge can be public speaking and in-class participation. International students come from many countries with different cultural backgrounds, and might be used to different ways of learning. One of the values in U.S. education is active in-class participation, and many professors expect you to be a part of the discussion in order to get a good grade. We’ve all been there, first day of class and you have to introduce yourself and come up with a fun fact about your life. It is all pretty harmless and easy, yet your palms are getting sweaty and your heart is racing faster as your turn to speak approaches. It is completely normal and understandable to struggle with in-class participation, especially if you are still adjusting to the language and not used to this kind of learning environment. There are still ways for you to get used to be a part of the discussion, and get all the A’s you deserve.
- You are not the only one who feels nervous.
Many students, both international and American, get nervous about speaking in a classroom or an auditorium. It is completely normal to feel a bit scared when raising your hand in the 100-person lecture class. But in the end of the day, what are the worst things that can happen to you? You stumble your words, but believe me in a month no one in the classroom will remember it.
- Feel free to reach out to your professor and talk about your challenges.
Often time participation is a mandatory factor in your success in a particular class, so feel free to approach your professor and see if they can give you some advice. All of us struggle when we are put out of our comfort zone, and your teacher might have a couple of good tips to help you feel more confident to participate in the discussion.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Remember that your opinion matters and you have a unique perspective that you can share with your classmates. Think of the sentence, idea or question in your head, take a deep breath and just go for it. And even if you stumble your words or forget a word or two in the midst of the sentence, it is okay and it happens to everyone. So take another breath, finish the sentence and move on. The next day you will try again and will do great!
- It’s all about practice.
Speaking in a classroom for the first time on the first day is scary. Sharing your opinion for the 20th time with the classmates you see three times a week and pretty familiar with is much easier. Sometimes you just have to start and the more you do it, the easier it gets!
When you are an international student arriving for the first time to Mizzou, it is both exhilarating and slightly terrifying at the same time. There are so many challenges that you might face throughout that initial adjustment period, and improving your language can be one of them. Some of us have trouble with reading and comprehending academic articles, others might have trouble conversing with their classmates. Despite the fact that it might be challenging, the longer you are on this campus, the easier it gets. To speed up your improvement, here are some tips on improving your English.
- Be confident!
You might feel a bit insecure about your language. Don’t be! Think of how much courage and skill it takes to travel to a different country and study in a foreign language. So be confident and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
- Listen to music, watch movies and TV shows.
That’s an easy and fun way to improve your language. Go watch an episode of “Friends” and listen to a new Beyonce album – hey, you are both enjoying your time and polishing your skills!
- Join organizations.
There are so many opportunities on campus and you should take advantage of it. Go check out all the organizations you might have even the slightest interest in. College has so much to offer outside of the classroom. One of the great ways to get involved is to sign up for the Language Partners Program or International Friendship Program. You get paired up with a student who wants to help you learn both language and culture. Another organization you might be interested in joining is AIESEC Mizzou. This cool organization can help you develop international leadership skills. There are so many more opportunities on campus: from newspapers and radio stations to Missouri International Student Council and so on! Explore your possibilities, don’t be afraid to ask questions and meet new people. Not only will it make your time at Mizzou so much more amazing, but your English will improve without you even noticing it.
Now with these tips in hand, finish another episode of your favorite show (in English), and then go check out more information about different language programs on campus.
Mizzou welcomed more than 200 new international undergraduate students from 24 different countries.
The international orientation took place from Aug. 15 to Aug. 17 and introduced the students to life at Mizzou. A shopping trip to Walmart on Tuesday ensured that each student gets a chance to buy every necessity he or she needs. Resource fair at Jesse Hall introduced students to different organizations on campus, and multiple workshops answered students' questions about transportation and living in Columbia, Mo.
A picnic at the Stephen's Lake Park capped off this year's orientation and was filled with laughter, fun games, an abundance of pizza and snacks. Students from all over the world got a chance to meet each other as well as many American student volunteers. The students we talked to are excited to start their journey at Mizzou.
Like stones rolling down hills, fair ideas reach their objectives despite all obstacles and barriers. It may be possible to speed or hinder them, but impossible to stop them. José Martí Like stones rolling down hills, changes in U.S – Cuba relations have begun to garner momentum and are becoming visible in the media releases that herald the opening of the first U.S. hotel in 60 years, the clearing for six U.S airlines to takeoff for Cuba and the filming of “Furious 8” in Havana. But underneath those highly visible and somewhat one-sided events, lies a steady stream of people-to-people encounters that bring together U.S. and Cuban educators. These exchanges may not make the CNN line up, but are contributing to the normalization and humanization of Cuba-U.S. relations during the period of “the thaw /el deshielo.”
I was privileged to become a player on this “deshielo” stage when I participated in the first TIES – Taller para la Internalización de la Educación Superior (Workshop for the Internationalization of Higher Education)- in October of 2015. The workshop brought to the island faculty and administrators from 27 U.S. institutions interested in exploring collaborations with Cuban universities. Within a couple of days, it was evident that we were playing a small part in something larger and very powerful. I connected with Dr. Xiomara Garcia Navarro, dean of the Facultad de Ciencias Pedagógicas at Universidad de Cienfuegos and quickly began to explore potential opportunities for internationalization of teacher preparation programs at her institution and ours. According to Open Doors data, less than 4% of education majors in the U.S. participate in any study abroad program during their college career. Due in part to the restrictions imposed on Cuba by the Embargo and the blockade, even less Cuban pre-service teachers have had opportunities to study abroad.
During the months that followed the TIES workshop, I stayed in communication with Dr. Xiomara, faculty members from her university and members of the Ministries of Basic and Higher Education to whom she had introduced me. At the same time, we had conversations in our college about potential involvement with Cuba and Universidad de Cienfuegos and the decision was made to send a delegation to the Convocación Paulo Freire in April/May 2016.
The Paulo Freire event was quite different from TIES because this time around the U.S. delegations were in the minority. In fact, we were one of two U.S. universities represented. Our delegation was comprised of the dean of the College of Education, Dr. Kathryn Chval, Dr. Amalia Dache-Gerbino (Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis), Dr. Rachel Pinnow (Learning, Teaching and Curriculum; and TESOL faculty) and myself in my role as director of international and intercultural initiatives for the college. The four of us engaged widely with Cuban faculty and delegates from over 20 nations who had converged in Cuba for this conference where Paulo Freire’s ideology and his “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” were widely discussed. In the context of the “thawing” and normalization of relations between Cuba and the U.S., the world is watching how old patters or relating give ways to new patterns and what those patterns will turn out to be.
We feel that engaging with Cuban institutions and especially promoting exchanges among university faculties and k-12 educators can play a crucial role in building relatedness from otherness which is at the center of all our international engagement initiatives. Meaningful international education exchanges based on reciprocity and mutualism hold the potential for enhanced understanding and engagement among peoples. In May, the College hosted the visit of two representatives from the Universidad de Cienfuegos; Ms. Lourdes Pomares Castellón, Director of the Office of International Relations and Ms. Dayni Deysi Diaz Mederos, Academic Coordinator for the Office of International Relations to continue discussions for future collaborations that we hope will include faculty exchanges, international education opportunities for students and collaborative research. Mizzou Ed, Presente!
- Dr. Gabrielle Malfatti, Director of International and Intercultural Initiatives, College of Education, University of Missouri.
On his recent achievement of winning the TESOL International Association 50 at 50 award, the MU International admissions team sat down for a Q&A session with Mark Algren, the Director of MU’s Center for English Language Learning on his life as a mentor, teacher and administrator.
Mark with a portrait of his great-great grandfather, Per Hakan Svensen (born 1811).
Q: If you could give me a bit of background on your award, and how does the committee making the decision work and the criteria they look into?
Mark Algren: “The TESOL International Association 50 at 50 award was created by the Board to recognize “individuals who have made a significant contribution to the TESOL profession during the past 50 years.” Actually, only 49 recipients were named out of over 250 nominations; The 1st awardee was the late Dr. James E. Alatis, founding member and first Executive Secretary of the association. Nominations were solicited from the membership, and the 50th Anniversary Committee worked in secrecy to make their selections so that there was no “campaigning” or undue influence from outside the committee.”
In 1962, Mark’s best friend, whose father worked for an oil company, lived in Africa and sent Mark letters and pictures. That’s where the interest in international things started.
On study abroad in London, spring 1975.
Mark worked as a logger in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state.
Q: Perhaps you could talk about how you got into this field when you were just getting started?
Mark Algren: “My interest in international education started when I was about 7 years old. The father of a friend from my small hometown (Monmouth, Illinois) worked for Mobile Oil and they lived in several countries around the world. His letters and pictures sparked that interest. I spent a study abroad term at City University of London in 1975, and wanted to teach abroad as a result of that. After college, while working as a volunteer logger at Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat in the mountains of Washington state, I was introduced to opportunities with the Lutheran Church to teach English in the Far East. In August, 1979, I started teaching in Hong Kong at Kowloon Lutheran Middle School. I quickly realized I wasn’t doing a very good job teaching English due to my lack of ESL teaching knowledge and skills. After returning to the USA, I read some books on the topic and went on to get a master’s degree in teaching ESL from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale.”
In Tienanmen Square.
Presenting a workshop in at Vietnam National University, Hanoi.
Q: Our readers would love to know more about your experiences of having worked abroad, as well as your work at the University of Kansas?
Mark Algren: “I wanted to teach in China, but it was difficult to get a job there at that time, so I ended up in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in May 1982. That led to 12 years in the Kingdom where I taught and was a program administrator. I had two jobs related to the Saudi military, but the majority of my time was spent at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals in Dhahran. In addition to teaching, I held several administrative positions and eventually served as director of the 1,600-student Orientation English Program. I also assisted KFUPM administration with founding and opening Ha’il Community College (now University of Ha’il) in 1998. I last worked in the Middle East in the United Arab Emirates as director of the Intensive English Program at the American University of Sharjah; Sharjah is one of the seven emirates and is very close to Dubai.
In the United States, I spent two decades as a teacher and administrator in the Applied English Center at the University of Kansas (1993-2014). Some of that time was on leave while I was in the Middle East. I taught a variety of courses including special courses for visiting students and graduate students, and served on a university committee responsible for international student recruiting. I was appointed director of the AEC in 2010, and left Lawrence to come to MU on November 1, 2014. I’ll always be grateful to the AEC for the opportunities I had to expand my professional career at the university and in the field. They supported my work in the TESOL International Association as a Director, a Conference Chair, and eventually as President. Through my work in TESOL, I built a global network of contacts and I was privileged to make presentations in 18 countries on four continents.”
Mark and colleague with a friend in the desert.
In Baghdad, Iraq – a member of the first delegation of U.S. educators to visit Iraq almost 30 years.
Q: You joined MU in November 2014, walk us through the various projects and developments you have been involved on campus since then?
Mark Algren: “MU, the Center for English Language Learning (CELL) and Columbia have all been fabulous!! I especially want to say that the faculty and staff of CELL have been great to work with, and I have had great support from my boss, Dr. James K. Scott, Interim Vice Provost for International Programs and Director of the International Center. We’ve made many significant changes in the Center since the start of 2015, and that much work can’t be accomplished by one person. Everyone has to participate. We’ve lived through remodeling our facilities in McReynolds Hall, and now we are preparing our accreditation self-study for CEA: The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation. We’re starting the accreditation process this summer and it will take about 2 years to complete. I’ve met campus leaders in all offices that we have contact with, and each one has been supportive. At the end of each meeting, each person has ended with almost the same statement: ‘Let me know how I can help.’ You can’t ask for more support than that.”
Q: Share with us some of challenges that you find in your field of work on a day to day basis?
Mark Algren: “My biggest challenge is time; there’s never enough time to do all the things that you want as quickly as you would like. I think the biggest challenge, but also the greatest joy and reward, in any educational setting, is our students. Our students are wonderful, but they are adjusting to living in a new culture. I’ve adjusted to living in another culture myself, and I made a lot of cross-cultural mistakes, and fortunately the host-culture people were forgiving. All of us in international education, especially in language teaching, have to remember that. We help our students not only learn English, but also learn about American and U.S. academic culture. Beyond this, in my particular job, it’s the juggling of all the aspects of the position in running a Center: dealing with personnel, budget, publicity, and student recruiting, as well as going to meetings, giving direction, channeling information and processing paperwork.”
Mark Algren (Executive Director, Center for English Language Learning) and Lily Sorenson (Associate Director and Director of the Intensive English Program) represent the University of Missouri at an education fair in Manama, Bahrain; March 2016.
Q: What is your vision for the Center for English Language Learning (CELL) going ahead?
Mark Algren: “In addition to accreditation, which requires a plan for continuous program development and improvement, we are moving toward becoming a member of a prestigious consortium of university-governed English language programs, UCIEP. We are already a member of EnglishUSA, and these memberships, coupled with accreditation and our involvement with our international and regional professional associations will raise CELL’s and Mizzou’s visibility and reputation nationally and internationally in the field of teaching English to university-bound students. CELL has two main programs: the pre-university Intensive English Program and the English Language Support Program (undergraduate English courses and a speaking course for grad students). We are expanding into short term contractual programs. Our teaching focuses on academic English, so we are interested in developing professional development programs for English language teachers from other countries. There is huge demand in this area from the U.S. Department of State, ministries of education, universities and high schools, and other organizations. We received our first grant through which we will provide training to four English teachers coming to Columbia from Southern Technical University in Basra, Iraq. We also want to serve MU as a resource for information about the language needs of international students. CELL is also working with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions on developing complementary international student recruiting plans.
It’s an exciting time to be in international education at MU, and I couldn’t be happier to be here with these students and my colleagues, advancing the mission of the University of Missouri, helping to bring the world to MU, and representing MU to the world.”
As I accepted and started working in the role of the Assistant Director of International Recruitment position at the University of Missouri (Mizzou), I was told that my first trip abroad would be China. With the highest number of international students currently at Mizzou being from China, it made perfect sense to visit the leading country in terms of outward student mobility in global education. Also, the focus in the spring semester for the Office of International Admissions tends to be visiting those students and schools where we have received a number of applications for the upcoming fall semester. Again by reaching out to the students in their schools, Mizzou is able to build a personal relationship with the student and thus answer all questions concerning the transition.
On March 6, 2016, as I reached Beijing, China., I had many emotions going through me and I was equally nervous and excited. My basic perception about China was that not being able to speak Mandarin may lead to some challenges in regard to communication, however, everyone that I met in China was so helpful that even though I didn’t speak their language, they were always willing to help me through with hand gestures and smiles, and of course when all else failed there was google translate!
During my visit to China I attended 15 schools, 3 college fairs as well as had many one-on-one visits with students and parents in over 6 different cities and it all was fantastic. Initially during my visits the students tended to be a bit shy, often this was due to the fact that English is not a native language for these students and they felt slightly conscious about it. However, whenever I shared with the students that I too, like them, wasn’t a native speaker of English and had arrived in the United States as an international student, they started to open up. I felt with the sharing of this information a certain bond of trust was established with them. In a certain sense they looked at me after that not just as a representative of Mizzou, but also as someone who had lived the life of an international student and had been in their shoes at one point in time. Personally, this also helped me connect better with many of the counselors, principals, as well as the parents, many of who had also been an international students in the United States at once upon a time.
One of the best parts of the visit was when I visited the relatively smaller towns of Yangzhou and Lanzhou in China and found that many of the students from schools there too had previously or were currently attending Mizzou. Again, we often think that it is a huge world and yet even on the other end of the world you see Mizzou signs and banners and it makes you really appreciate the presence of global Tigers all around the world. Two such amazing global Tigers that I met in Beijing, China, were Amy and David, who have been living in China for now about a year. Amy who is a graduate of the School of Nursing at Mizzou is currently working as a school nurse at the Beijing International Bilingual Academy and David a graduate of the College of Education at Mizzou is a fourth grade teacher in the same school. One of the most inspiring moments in China was when I walked into David’s classroom and all his fourth graders welcomed me by chanting MIZ-ZOU! Believe me, as a Tiger the chant of MIZ truly inspires you wherever you may be!
In the end, I will be direct and honest, these maybe challenging times for Mizzou and yet when I see the excitement and hope in the eyes of future Tigers around the world, I know the values of this great institution are far larger than its challenges. Again, I am proud to say that the Tiger Spirit is well and alive around the world!
The University of Missouri has many multicultural events happening on campus in any given week. With the largest number of International Students on any college campus in the state of Missouri, the cultural events taking place on the Mizzou campus are a true reflection of its diversity and interest in global culture. The Mizzou International Admissions team recently had a Q&A session with Tzu-Yang Chao (who also goes by his last name Chao), an International graduate student in the department of Economics as well as the Multicultural Hour Coordinator for the Asian Affairs Center to speak about the spring 2016 semester events happening on campus.
Q: How did the concept of the Multicultural hour come into existence for the Asian Affairs Center?
Chao: The main purpose for the Multicultural hour is improving, understanding and promoting better relationships among people from different cultures. For a lot of international students it’s really hard to be used to a different culture from their own and make friends by themselves. Multicultural Hour is a really good opportunity to let them introduce their culture to other people, specifically the domestic American students.
Q: Who are the chief supporters for the Multicultural event series and their specific contributions to it?
Chao: Multicultural Hour was established in 2003, co-sponsored by Asian Affairs center, International center, Graduate Professional Council (GPC) and Hong Kong Market
Q. If you could talk about some of the events that have already happened as well as the ones that will be happening in the next few weeks and what are your plans for it?
Chao: There will be a lot of special events in the 2016 academic year: Chinese New year, Halloween Pumpkin Curving, Thanksgiving (American), Japanese food Culture, St. Patrick’s Day (American and European), SongKran Festival, and two semester wrap ups. Some of our special events are organized each semester, depending on the participants’ interest. For example, two years ago, we had a Japanese Tea Ceremony, because our participants expressed interest to learn about the process. In order to do we invited a guest to demonstrate how to properly perform the ceremony. More recently we have had special celebrations for the Chinese Lunar New Year, basically teaching American students to write Calligraphy and Chinese Hand Writing. We had more than hundred people participate in that event as well.
Some of the future events that we are planning to organize are:
Korean Alphabet and Music Culture
St. Patrick’s Day (American & European)
Easter - Egg Dye
Qing-Ming Festival - Chinese Dumpling
SongKran Festival -Thailand New Year
The Halloween Pumpkin Carving
Thanksgiving – American Family
Mid-Autumn Festival – Lantern Making
Japanese Mochi Event held on February 25, 2016
Q: Who are the participants in these events, is it only students, or are faculty, staff and International scholars also welcome?
Chao: Students, faculty, local community, International and domestic scholars, family members, basically everybody is welcome!
Q: Also, apart from the Multicultural hour, what other events and festivities does the Asian Affairs center plan on doing this spring 2016 semester?
Chao: We have many interesting programs planned for everyone to get a taste of Asia. For this, I would recommend checking out the Asian Affairs Center website: http://asia.missouri.edu/
The University of Missouri (Mizzou) has been visiting India for years, but this was my first time meeting with students in India who are interested in studying with us. As a representative of Mizzou I visited 25 schools in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. I have been blown away by my experience and I cannot wait for Mizzou to return. I am also very excited to see our incoming Indian students on our campus next fall! I like traveling to countries that prospective Mizzou Tigers reside in because it helps me better understand the environments from which they come. I love meeting with them, talking about their current schooling, and how they can further their academics at Mizzou. I like talking about the incredible opportunities that Mizzou can offer them.
In India I was very impressed with students’ academic preparation as well as their English. It did not matter the age of students; everyone was speaking fluently. Not only were students well prepared, but they were familiar with the education system in America. Often times the education system needs to be explained before the discussion can focus on Mizzou. Not in India, students were interested in Mizzou and wanted to know more about the opportunities they can take advantage of at my institution. Instead of only talking about my experience let me also show you my favorite parts from the travel there.
The easiest way to get around in India is by auto rickshaw.
I was excited to visit Sabarmati Ashram where Mahatma Gandhi lived from 1915 – 1930. In the picture I stand with my co-worker’s niece whose family lives in Ahmedabad.
Meeting with students. It is the best feeling to be at a school and have students telling me that they have already applied to Mizzou.
Table set up at different schools. I always wear Tiger ears. Our mascot is the Tiger and as soon as you arrive on campus you get to wear them too.
The most important part of attending a fair is filling out your information. When I return from the trip I email you if you have any further questions and I remain in contact with you with any additional information about Mizzou that you need to know. My team and I are always willing to answer students’ questions and we want students and their families to have all the information they need when making decisions about university study.
Sometimes we get asked to be interview for a program at schools or even a local TV station.
Masala tea, a favorite treat during visits to schools in India.
Did you know that Brad Pitt, a famous Hollywood actor, attended Mizzou. Here we are recruiting students at the airport in India with our MU alum on the TV in the background.
The University of Missouri is a world-class institution of higher education and one of my favorite parts of my job is getting to spread that message around the globe. We call it “Painting the Globe in Tiger Stripes” and I hope that you will come see me or one of my Mizzou colleagues when we visit your country!
All the best from Mizzou,
The University of Missouri held its first India day celebrations on Jan. 30, 2016 that was organized by the Cultural Association of India and co-sponsored by ORG and the office of the Vice Provost for International Programs. The event was marked by the presence of Consul General of India-Chicago, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed. In his remarks to the audience at the India Day, Dr. Sayeed emphasized on building a cultural and academic relationship with Mizzou through the faculty, staff and students of Indian origin as well as from India.
Chancellor Hank Foley who was also present at the function talked about his own experiences with the Indian American community and how much he had appreciated working with graduate students and faculty of Indian origin. Chancellor Foley also highlighted that the university had greatly benefitted from the intellectual contributions of the Indian origin faculty and scholars in reaching many academic landmarks.
Dr. James Scott, Vice Provost for International Programs stressed that the Indian community at Mizzou had played a vital role in many scholarly activities from pioneering education in physics, nano technology, nano medicine, computer and cyber technology in medicine, accountancy and marketing, agroforestry, sleep research among others. In his emphasis to MU-India connections, Dr. Scott highlighted some facts such as more than 100 faculty and staff of Indian origin were currently employed at the university also there were approximately 245 Indian International students enrolled at Mizzou.
The keynote speaker for the program was Dr. Surendra Gupta, President and CEO, American Radiolabeled Chemicals. In his presentation Dr. Gupta shared his inspirational and humble beginning in America as a graduate student and eventually transitioning into entrepreneur overtime.
The India Day Program was divided into a two part series. The first part of the program highlighted the academic and research work done by the faculty of Indian origin at Mizzou. Several distinguished faculty such as Dr. Meera Chandrasekhar from the department physics to Dr. Ramesh Khanna from the department of medicine shared their research from the field.
The second part of the India Day celebrations followed the more traditional Republic day cultural traditions. Several Classical Indian dance performances of Bharatanatayam were presented alongside the more contemporary dance numbers of Bollywood. At the closing ceremony of the India day program, Dr. Shivendra Shukla, the faculty advisor for the Cultural Association of India introduced the 2016 Cultural Association of India board members.
Here at Mizzou, we are proud of our students and what they accomplish. Anurag Chandran is a senior at MU and has earned the Schwarzman Scholarship. Check out this feature story the Fellowships Office did to learn more about Anurag and where this scholarship will take him. http://fellowships.missouri.edu/news/2016/chandran.php Congratulations Anurag! #MizzouMade
By taking a look at the crowd, you could be anywhere in the world. The faces come from all different places, but all are brought together by a passion for film and culture. At first, it could be hard to imagine that you’re actually in a small Midwest town, right in America’s heartland. But that’s what is so great about the True False Film Festival; it adds to the life and culture of our vibrant and colorful community. It’s an excitement that is hard to escape. Located in downtown Columbia, Mizzou and the downtown community take the festival straight to the streets with live music, dancing, film screenings, parades, and much, much more:
Though the film festival only comes around once a year, Mizzou has a commitment to sustaining the culture and diversity the festival brings to us each year. The Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism offers Mizzou students, interested in documentary film-making, the opportunity to research and practice documentary film-making in a program that not only boasts innovative faculty, but also is one of the largest programs of its kind. The program was made possible thanks to a gift from Mizzou Alumnus and inventor of modern reality TV ("The Real World", "Road Rules") Jonathan Murray (Bachelor of Journalism ’77).
There is a growing demand for video content that is accessible across media platforms and for professionals that can skillfully create videos to meet the demand. Murray’s gift will ensure that students learn from the best in the documentary film-making field and walk away with tangible projects to show future employers. “The establishment of this new documentary journalism program is my way of helping to ensure that we’ve prepared the media and entertainment industry’s future documentary film makers to do great work, a goal that I share with MU,” Murray said.
To Mizzou Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, it’s programs like this that give Columbia and Mizzou a unique advantage, “[The program] also complements community efforts such as the True False Film Festival, making Columbia, MO, a true force in documentary storytelling.”
The commitment to film-making, celebration of culture, and vision for the future of documentary storytelling is a commitment the Columbia and Mizzou communities proudly share together. As a Mizzou student studying film, you are right in the heart of the film-making process, continually learning and drawing inspiration from the richness around you, surrounded by those who are passionate about film, just like you.
Phtos and Video via: True False Film Festival
Source: Missouri School of Journalism, News Release, "$6.7 Million Gift Funds New Documentary Journalism Program at MU"
We frequently get questions about how American culture and student life is different in the US compared to other countries. The short answer is that it can be quite different simply because you are learning to live in a completely new and exciting environment. But remember, you are never alone. Past international students had the same concerns and questions you have now. We anticipate these concerns and have resources in place to help you adjust to a new culture and thrive at a truly global learning institution. Below are 8 resources Mizzou offers to help international students adjust to living in the US.
- MU International Center: This is the place for all things international on Mizzou campus and should be your first stop on campus. The center facilitates International Welcome Week each semester for incoming international students. The program is meant to help get to know your peers, Mizzou campus and community resources, as well as help you with cultural adjustments. Throughout your time at Mizzou you can consult with them regarding visa questions, assistance with cultural adjustments, how to get involved in activities, and if they can’t answer a questions you have they can point you to a resource that can!
- Learning Strategies Course: The course is taught by coordinators from the International Center and focuses on strategies and tools new international students can use to make their transition onto campus and American life easier. In-class, they cover topics like note-taking, how to study, and English vocabulary expansion, however students are also required to get to know people outside of class by attending campus and community events, and “hanging-out” with a domestic student - one of the students’ favorite assignments! It’s a great way to get to know other international students, American classroom culture, and how to immerse yourself in your new home.
- Student and Cultural Organizations: Mizzou has more than 700 student organizations. And we have been named to President Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, with 23,000 of our students performing more than 940,000 hours of service in the Columbia community. If you want to join a cultural organization to feel a little closer to home or if you want to join one more aligned with your interests and hobbies, go for it! Getting involved in organizations is one of the best ways to meet people with common interests and overcome anxiety about being away from home.
- Campus and Community Events: Mizzou and the Columbia community are outstanding when it comes to providing students and residents world-class events, from Broadway musicals, concert series and festivals to student organized events like International Night and India Nite. There is always something going on and one of the many things that makes Columbia a unique and vibrant place to live.
- International Students’ Career Services: Managed by trained coordinators and career specialists, the nationally-recognized ISCS has assisted over 6,000 international students in career advising since its inception in 2005. It’s a culturally sensitive career service center for international students. From helping you search for an internship/job to preparing for the interview, the ISCS is there to help you navigate the process of interning or working in America by providing an area where international students can come and ask any questions they have. Click here to see how they helped Dawei “Tom” Li, an engineering student from China.
- The MU Writing Center: The center was established in 1977 and helps thousands of Mizzou students each year. Writing tutors can meet with you in person or you can submit your writing online. Tutors come from every academic background and can assist with any type of writing assignment you have: academic essays, personal statements, scholarship applications, literature reviews, creative projects, lab reports, and more.
- The Counseling Center: The Counseling Center offers students resources that promote personal, intellectual, and psychological well-being. They offer students free assistance in the areas of crisis and emergency, individual counseling, and group counseling. So whether you are stressed out over a class or something bigger, this is a resource that can help you overcome so you can thrive at Mizzou.
- Classmates and professors: Classes in the US are very interactive, with a lot of work carried out through classroom discussions or group work. It’s absolutely okay and expected for you to talk to or email your professor if you are struggling in class or need clarification. Professors hold office hours where you can schedule a meeting to go in and talk with them about class. Most US students are also aware that classroom culture in the US and other countries can be different, so feel free to ask them for notes and advice too. It can be challenging, but once you open yourself up, it will get much easier and you’ll probably make friends in the process and get a good recommendation letter from the professor.
Studying abroad is one of the top ways to make yourself competitive in our increasingly globalized environment. From alums like Tim Nowak and Jose Gutierrez, that are now leaders in the international marketplace to current students taking advantage of all the opportunities Mizzou has to offer, you can be assured that Mizzou has the resources in place to help you grow into a globally competitive student and graduate.
Mizzou’s Office of International Admissions manages missouriglobal.org. To keep up to date with the latest information about studying in the USA, look us up on Facebook and Twitter. And if you have any questions please email us. We look forward to hearing from you
The Radio Television Digital News Association’s (RTDNA) annual poll of news professionals named the Top 20 Journalism Schools in 2014. The report noted that while hundreds of journalism schools possess the virtues of best journalism programs, the Missouri School of Journalism was “once again far and away the No. 1 choice as the top J-School in the Country.”
Founded in 1908, the Missouri School of Journalism is the oldest journalism school in the country and perhaps the world. It continually sets itself apart from other journalism programs through the one-of-a-kind “Missouri Method” that gives students hands on training in the school owned broadcast station, KOMU-TV. Additionally students in the school run the following:
- Operate the local National Public Radio Station (KBIA)
- Produce “Radio Adelante”, a Spanish language radio program, and
- Get experience at Columbia Missourian publications that include a website, digital apps, e-books, and the print publication Vox Magazine.
- Mange Missouri Business Alert, a digital newsroom that covers top business news
Journalism professionals noted that as a student of the j-school, “You get real world, hands-on experience (and lots of it) before you even graduate…and graduates have a proven track record of success”.
However, the Missouri Method extends beyond just broadcast journalism. The school has more than 30 interest areas and the option to create individually designed interest areas. From covering global issues as a Global Journalist reporter to working on advertising campaigns for MOJO Ad, students have the opportunity to work in any interest area, with the assurance that they are being provided one of the best journalism experiences a student can find anywhere in the world.
To learn more about the Missouri School of Journalism and student experiences, check out this short student-produced documentary.
Mizzou’s Office of International Admissions manages missouriglobal.org. To keep up to date with the latest information about studying in the USA, look us up on Facebook and Twitter. And if you have any questions please email us. We look forward to hearing from you!
Feature image: Missouri School of Journalism
Image above: Courtesy of TEDx MU via The Maneater
Tim Nowak, Mizzou alumnus and Executive Director of the World Trade Center in St. Louis has spent his career building partnerships with businesses and governments all over the world. On a recent visit to Mizzou, he shared his insight on increasing student mobility and the necessity of preparing for a cross cultural career while you are in college. Below are some tips he shared to increase your global competitiveness.
Realize that global relevance requires global reach
In order to implement innovative and successful growth strategies, countries, businesses, and universities all over the globe must make a commitment to diversity. And as our world becomes more interconnected, more job opportunities will emerge. Much of this success rests on current and upcoming university students. Growing and implementing these global-sized strategies requires future graduates and leaders to be able to manage and effectively work with a growing global workforce. This is why it is essential to develop cross-cultural competencies. It is important to develop these skills now, but especially during your university years if you want to be competitive in the workforce.
Commit yourself to listening and learning
To increase your cultural competency you must commit yourself to listening and learning. Employers want people who are willing to travel, live, and work abroad. Great ways to prepare yourself are to learn new languages and study abroad while you are attending university. Language skills and experience abroad are becoming imperative as they are not only showing your willingness to learn and experience new ideas and cultures, but it keeps you competitive by providing you with hands-on-experience at living and learning in new environments.
Take study abroad and experiential learning opportunities seriously
While studying abroad is an essential first step, it does not stop there. As Nowak said “This is a unique four year time of your life to experience different cultures,” and it was one opportunity Nowak wished he would have taken more seriously. Take your study abroad experience seriously, get involved in experiential learning opportunities, participate in episodic volunteer opportunities like Mizzou’s Alternative Breaks program and use resources like Career Services for International Students to help prepare you for your chosen career. These are great chances to learn about your classmates who come from all over the world.
Live your dream, but take risks
This could be the most important tip of all. Mr. Nowak found himself in a great job at 29 years old. He had the chance to continue up the corporate ladder if he moved to his company’s new headquarters. You know what he did instead? He spent a year in an African tribe. He wrote to a friend, “I have no money, no job, no house, but this has been the best experience of my life.” He described his year in Africa as being the most transformational time in his life where he built a global mentality by “spending intentional time getting to know the culture and sub cultures.” And he emphasized that he is still learning, there is no end to the process. Today, Mr. Nowak is the Executive Director of the World Trade Center in St. Louis and one of eight Eisenhower Fellows, where he has traveled extensively throughout the world building relationships between Missouri businesses and the rest of the globe.
Mizzou’s Office of International Admissions manages missouriglobal.org. To keep up to date with the latest information about studying in the USA, look us up on Facebook and Twitter. And if you have any questions please email us. We look forward to hearing from you!
Jose Gutierrez first came to Mizzou in 1982 as an international student barely speaking English, yet determined to achieve his American dream. Today, he is president of Wholesale Solutions, a multi-billion dollar business owned by AT&T, an American multinational telecommunications corporation. He also serves as an alumni adviser to Mizzou’s Trulaske College of Business. In an interview with the College of Business’ Dean Joan Gabel, Mr. Gutierrez shares his experience as an international student at Mizzou, obstacles he faced as an international student, and how the lessons he learned at Mizzou led to his successful career at AT&T.
When you came to Mizzou it was your first entry into the United States and you faced a lot of obstacles. Can you tell us how you did that and what inspired you to do that?
I was a very young, scared immigrant and spoke very little English. But Mizzou changed my life and Mizzou is America for me. It embraced me and made me work very, very hard- harder than I had ever worked. But the people at Mizzou changed my life and still do. Not knowing the language was the main difficulty, but it has taught me a valuable lesson which I use in business all the time- which is that I try not to defeat myself before I start something. If I had known when I arrived at Mizzou- coming from Madrid, not speaking the language- if I had used a rational method of determining what are the chances I’ll make it, I probably would have just turned around and left because the odds were so overwhelmingly against me and so when I start a new venture I always tell myself don’t defeat yourself and go after what you want.
One advantage of the US and Mizzou is the tremendous access to education. What are your thoughts on what educators need to do so they can equip students to access these opportunities?
I have no doubt Mizzou is going down the right path in terms of the curriculum. To me, what Mizzou gave me that I didn’t see as much at other institutions is the personal, nurturing touch. I think it is very unique to the Mizzou brand- that nurturing, caring brand. I think we have to preserve that. Missourians are like that by nature, so I think we have to cherish it and treasure it. Because if you combine that care and the educational vocation we have in the Mizzou faculty, which is very superior, and you mix it with the Mizzou curriculum, I think that is a winning formula.
What advice do you have for college students?
What I would advise every student is to be optimistic. If a student at Mizzou approaches life and their future with optimism, they are 95% there. They wouldn’t have gone to Mizzou if they didn’t have a good foundation. They wouldn’t be graduating from Mizzou if they didn’t have an improved foundation. So just be optimistic because you are at Mizzou, so what can stop you? The sky is the limit.
The full length interview where Mr. Gutierrez talks more about his time at Mizzou and his work with AT&T can be viewed below
Mizzou’s Office of International Admissions manages missouriglobal.org. To keep up to date with the latest information about studying in the USA, look us up on Facebook and Twitter. And if you have any questions please email us at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you! Feature image from left to right: Mizzou Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, Jose Gutierrez, Mizzou College of Business Dean. Joan Gabel. Photo via Mizzou Business Archives.
Mizzou is one of the major research institutions in the US. And the undergraduate research opportunity program (UROP) at Mizzou, unlike most classroom experiences, allows students to explore the unknown through hands-on work with faculty mentors. Catherine Seidu, a Ghanaian student studying Neuroscience at Mizzou, has matured from a Freshman researcher, to now, a senior leading her own projects and presenting her research at symposiums. Below she shares her insights and tips for students interested in participating in university research programs.
What motivated you to participate in Mizzou’s Undergraduate Research Program?
Upon admission to the University of Missouri, Columbia, I was offered a scholarship with the Mathematics in Life Sciences fellowship. One of the requirements of the fellowship was participating in an undergraduate research program during the summer after our freshman year.There were several motivating factors that helped me decide to participate in an undergraduate research internship:
- To satisfy my curiosity since I had always wondered what working in a research lab entailed
- To enhance my chances of gaining admission into a doctoral or master’s degree program upon graduation from my undergraduate training.
- I could also obtain a strong letter of recommendation from my research supervisor if he/she gets to know me on either a professional or personal level.
Above all, I wanted to experience what research scientists did in the lab. I was fascinated by the results obtained from the strategic mixing of chemicals; by the wide array of information available in the form of published scientific papers; and by the need for more research in several other areas that have yet to be explored.
What have been the greatest benefits of participating in the program?
Being currently in charge of a research project, I have a concrete idea of what research scientists do on a daily basis. I have had to read and understand research papers and have also learned how to search for information pertaining only to my area of interest.
I have also learned the importance of accuracy in running and designing experiments. Furthermore, I have worked alongside several graduate students and have learned a lot from them, making some good friends in the process.
I currently work with another undergraduate student and of course my mentor. Forming professional relationships/connections with my research supervisor and mentor and with other graduate and undergraduate students in the lab is one of the benefits. Moreover, the valuable research experience which I have gained adds a lot more perspective to my life.
My experience has also taught me that there is more to college than just going to class and getting good grades. I have gone from participating in a research internship, to working as a research assistant in three different lab- one in computer science, another in Plant Biology and the other in Neuroscience- where I currently am.
Where have you presented your research?
I have had the opportunity to present my research at various avenues/ programs on Campus. I did present to other research participants and faculty at the end of my summer internship in 2012. I also presented during the undergraduate research Spring Forum at Monsanto auditorium in 2014.
I had the opportunity to also present my project at the Advancing Neuroscience symposium attended by several distinguished people in neuroscience research. I am due to present my current research at the Health Science research Day at the School of Medicine in November.
What would you tell other international students interested in research about the undergraduate research program?
I would say if you have the slightest interest in any kind of research, find a lab to volunteer/work in. Sometimes, you may not even know if research is for you but it thus help to try it out. There are several labs on campus that do research in various specialties. You may gain experience in a lab that mixes chemicals in search of results; one that works with mice, rabbits and even microorganisms; or one that does nothing of the above, working instead with computers or people.
Most undergraduate research opportunities will equip you with the tools needed to enhance your research skills which would make you a more competitive applicant to graduate programs and even jobs in the future especially as an international student.
Visit the Undergrad Research Opportunity Program (UROP) website to learn more about UROP at Mizzou. Or, if you are ready to apply you can do so by downloading the application or apply online. In the meantime, stay connected with us on Facebook and Twitter!