January 25, 2012 - Ferris State University's Chinese Cultural Student Group, hosted a Chinese New Year celebration, Year of the Dragon, on Tuesday, January 24. The evening was complete with Chinese dancers, both students and professionals from Grand Rapids and many Chinese food dishes. This is the first year the student organization has done a Chinese New Year. There are currently 17 Chinese students enrolled at Ferris, the third largest international group following Saudi Arabian and Canadian students.
January 13, 2012 - Ferris State University officials have reported a 44% increase in international students for the Spring 2012 semester. This is an additional 80 students. Across campus, there has been an increase of 1 percent of students. Ferris now has an additional 162 students from Spring 2011 Semester for a total of 13,705.
November 30, 2011 - According to the Big Rapids Pioneer newspaper, last year international students brought $4.5 million to our community and $705 to Michigan according to the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers' "Economic Impact Statement." Of the $4.5 million, $2.4 went to tuition at Ferris, and $2.8 helped the surrounding community. The university also spent about $75,000 of its federal funding on international students. This revenue came from 208 international students. As of Fall 2011, 235 international students were enrolled and admissions of these students continues to increase each semester.
November 14-17, 2011 - Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is an international movement designed to celebrate the courage and determination of the less than 1% of individuals that engage in entrepreneurial practices. GEW provided a variety of opportunity for students to learn about and engage in entrepreneurship. Over the course of the week, students had the opportunity to attend informational lectures on entrepreneurship, participate in networking events, and participate in an elevator pitch competition. All of the events were open to faculty, staff, students, and the community to watch. The theme for the week was empowerment and GEW strove to help students find the strength to become entrepreneurs and embrace the benefits of calculated risk taking in terms of their economic futures.
Three speakers highlighted this theme of empowerment. Michael Suman spoke from personal experience about the dedication and determination necessary to become an entrepreneur as well as tips for creative marketing once one was ready to head down that path. Keith Brophy encouraged students to harness a wide variety of energies when developing their next great idea. Michael Price explained how he took a challenge and turned it into an opportunity for entrepreneurship while at the same time helping the community to grow.
The premier event of GEW was the elevator pitch competition. Students were asked to pretend they had just walked into an elevator only to find a VIP, capable of investing in their business. They then had 90 seconds to convince them why their idea was worthy of funding. This competition was open to all enrolled students and gave them a valuable opportunity to practice skills such as public speaking, persuasion, sales, and marketing. A total of 11 students from across the campus participated in this event spanning a total of 5 colleges across the university system. “Great companies are built on a bold idea, in sync with the moment. The elevator pitch competition gave students the chance to test the waters of their creative problem solving by providing them a forum for explaining why they have the next great idea. The prizes awarded to the top students were validation that they were on the right track for achieving their entrepreneurial dreams" said Kathleen Bolter, research analyst for the Entrepreneurial Institute.
Overall, attendance for the week totaled 251 people. “Global Entrepreneurship Week brought together students, faculty, and staff that all have an interest in Entrepreneurship. Our hope is that the Entrepreneurship Institute and the new student group Collegiate Entrepreneurial Organization will continue to grow in the years to come. "Last week’s events showed how many people are interested in being Entrepreneurs and starting businesses. All of the speakers were enlightening and give hope in Michigan’s tough economy,” states Morgan Hales, Office Manager for the Entrepreneurial Institute.
October 7, 2011 - On Wednesday, October 5, local newspaper Pioneer reported on Kids Culture Day, hosted by the Office of International Education. The event took place in the Rankin Dome room on Ferris State University's campus and welcomed 4th grade students from St. Peter's Lutheran School, Brookside Elementary School, and Riverview Elementary School. The event gave kids the opportunity to explore other cultures by doing educational activities, such as getting their names written in Chinese and listening to a fable from Ghana and making headpieces, etc.
October 3, 2011 - International Week begins today and runs through Friday, October 7. A list of the activities for the week can be found on www.ferris.edu/international/events.
September 28, 2011 - Local newspaper, Pioneer highlighted the Office of International Educations Conversation Partners program. Conversation Partners puts international students and American students or community members together to help them practice English. American students spend four hours each week with the international students, one-on-one or in a group setting. American students who participate in the program also get a chance to earn Study Abroad Miles, earning $8 for every hour they work to put towards a Study Abroad program. Participants can earn up to 10 hours a week, or $2,400 a year towards the program. If you are interested in Conversation Partners, please contact Lisa vonReichbauer at 231-591-2838.
September 13, 2011 - Local newspaper, Pioneer interviewed International Students with Islamic background during the eve of the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center Attacks in NYC. Some international students were unsure how they would be treated as a Muslim in the U.S. "I was a little apprehensive," said Mashruka Mahmud from Bangladesh. "But after the first month here I forget all my worries. I didn't feel like I was an international student at all." Mahmud is one of more than 40 Muslim students studying at Ferris State University. Many Muslim students feel frustrated when extremists are linked to their faith. Malyasian student Mohd Zafrol Zulkepeli said it creates a perception that all Muslims are terrorists. Every Friday, the Muslim student organization prays together at the Rankin Center at 1:15pm and people of all faiths are welcomed to join each week. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 8, 2011 - Local newspaper, Pioneer, reported that Fall 2011 enrollment is a record at Ferris, with international student numbers also increasing. Ferris added 50 more international students this fall, or 28.4%. The Office of International Education looks forward to further increasing these numbers for Spring 2012 enrollment.
June 30, 2011 - Thank you to everyone who donated books to Afghanistan and made our book drive a great success. Our office collected and will send 3,129 books to Kabul University.
June 21, 2011 - The Office of International Education is collecting books until June 24, 2011 to go to the Kabul University in Afghanistan. Illyas Fana, an international student from Afghanistan, and Manuel Abels, an international Congress exchange student from Germany, are heading the project.
Due to the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, most of their collections in the library were destroyed. Kabul University has just begun to rebuild their collection. As of June 21, 2011, 828 books were collected, and the office will continue to collect until Friday, June 24, 2011. If you cannot drop off your books, the office can arrange to have your books picked up. Please contact Illyas Fana at email@example.com with any questions, or feel free to call the office at (231)591-2450.
Ondokuz Mayis University Visit: April 9-15, 2011
Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Akan, Rector, and Prof. Dr. Ahmet Bulut, Vice Rector, Ondokuz Mayis University are scheduled to visit Ferris April 9-15. Ondokuz Mayis University, established in 1975, is located in Samsun, the largest city on the Black Sea coast in the North of Turkey. It is comprised of 10 faculties, 2 schools, 9 vocational schools, 4 graduate schools, 12 study and research centers, and one conservatory. Ondokuz Mayis University has 151 different departments and programs with approximately 21,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students. The university provides educational services in 10 faculties consisting of the Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Dentistry, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, and Faculty of Law. The graduate schools are Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Health Sciences, and Fine Arts.
The Rector and Vice Rector were invited to visit Ferris to tour our colleges and facilities, meet with key academic and staff personnel, and explore possible areas of mutual cooperation. They will be accompanied by Dr. Yavuz Demir and his wife, Semra Demir.
Students, faculty and staff are invited to meet our visitors on Tuesday, April 12 at either:
The Ferris project officer/coordinator for this visit is Bob Ewigleben, phone: (616) 643-5729, cell: (616) 490-0363, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.Twelve students and two faculty members traveled during spring break to the northern part of India to learn about the culture, traditions, business, and history of India. During their travels they visited the capital New Delhi, Agra, and Varanasi. In Varanasi they were warmly welcomed by School of Management Studies to understand the role of spirituality and how it adds to the ethical dimension in understanding management practices around the globalized world. The students also had an opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal, Delhi University, hospital systems, and Gandhi's memorial.
06 April, 2011
The Ferris Hospitality Gala Management team organized the event, Cover the Seal in the quad by collecting loose change from Ferris students in order to raise money to help those who were devastated by the March 11 earthquake/tsunami in Japan.The Hospitality Gala Management team worked together to come up with an idea to help the victims affected by the disaster. In addition, the Alumni Gold Club participated in the event as well.
Justin Wensel, a senior in the hospitality management program, said over $270 was donated to the cause. "Out of all the people walking across the quad, I would say we had about half of the students donate at least a little bit," said Wensel.
The Hospitality Gala Management team did not have a particular goal for an amount of money; they were trying to get students to donate as much as possible, even if it was just a small amount of money to help the victims. The donations went to the American Red Cross disaster relief fund — the complete total raised was $278.
"We just felt that it was a horrific event and that we needed to do our part to help out," said Staley.06 April, 2011
All Around the World: Ferris hospitality student, Mariana Garcia and Grand Rapids resident, Nancy Ramos show their heritage. The International Festival was held to showcase the various cultures from around the world and educate students about different foods, dances and traditions.
150 international students showcased their countries at the 23rd International Festival of Cultures.
The festival offered the Ferris community a chance to break that barrier and interact with people from all over the world. With ethnic dishes, cultural clothing, music, dancing and even a poster competition for Big Rapids elementary students, the diverse group of students gave the community a chance to experience multiple places in the world at one location.
Tara Benzing, OIE study abroad manager, hoped the festival brought awareness to the international students in which the community can become involved with. "We hope the community was able to see how many countries are represented on campus, as well as learned something about the culture from those countries from the students," Benzing said.
Mar 23, 2011
Junior Ashley Huntey and other Ferris athletes took a trip to Jamaica during spring break to help change deaf children's lives. Huntey, a junior volleyball player from Stanwood majoring in nursing, organized a mission trip with the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf. The CCCD is a United States organization that has set up three schools in Jamaica for deaf children to attend. They are stationed in Montego Bay, Kingston, and Knockpatrick.
"It was an amazing trip. I suggest to anyone thinking of missions or just going and helping others in a less fortunate situations to go," said Huntey.
Huntey finished her 2010 volleyball season with 264 digs and 338 kills for her junior season, securing the second-best spot on the team in both categories. Currently, Huntey and the volleyball team are in spring practice.
29 March, 2011
The world was experienced at the Ferris State University 23rd annual International Festival of Cultures courtesy of a wide variety of authentic foods, music and entertainment.
International students from 28 different countries shared some of their culture with the Ferris and Big Rapids communities.
"This event is a really cool way to see all the international students at Ferris in one location representing their cultures," said Shana Beisiegel, administrative assistant in the Office of International Education. "The international students are so eager to share this experience with all of Ferris."
Besides the traditional food and music, this year's entertainment included an Arabic poem recital and an Indian singer.
18 March, 2011
In the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster, many in the Ferris State University community have inquired about Rie Yoshimoto, an international student from Japan who returned home in the winter of 2010.
Yoshimoto was in Osaka, far away from the epicenter of the earthquake estimated at a magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter scale, and reports experiencing a "small shaking" of approximately 3.0 at her location.
"I feel that it is a very ordinary thing, in the Japanese culture and character, for people to show the spirit of cooperation when they are in trouble," Yoshimoto said. "As a Japanese person, I am proud of this response."
Support for Japan tsunami victims had student organizations asking for contributions to a recently-established Japan Relief Fund.
04 March, 2011
The tropic of Costa Rica, during spring break, was the destination for Ferris State University's Pre-Medicine Club. This ambitious student organization worked on more than just tans and fun in the sun in Central America.
The group of nine pre-medicine students volunteered abroad during spring break (March 5 to 13) in clinics and hospitals throughout Costa Rica to assist in, observe and learn more about medical care. The trip provided an opportunity for service, but it also has a hands-on educational value for the Ferris students.
"It will give me an upper hand for admission into medical school because I'll have patient interaction and the experience of working in a different culture," said Jory Smith, a junior pre-medicine student from Hemlock.
02 March, 2011
From the gradual decrease of international students since 2001, the university has sparked an increase of international interest by re-implementing the Intensive English Program (IEP) in fall 2010. The IEP is a "sheltered program for those who don't speak English," said Piram Prakasam, director of International Education.
The optional IEP, which was removed in 2005, restarted with 13 students in fall 2010 and has risen to 32 students within one semester. The IEP is three semesters long and teaches students, with no prior knowledge, English. This prepares international students with the English skills needed for their desired major and gives them a better ability to connect with domestic students.
Prakasam predicts the overall international enrollment will increase in fall 2011 to 225 international students because of the IEP and the other resources the university offers. This includes different recruiting techniques, study abroad programs, guest speakers, dialogues and creating new courses for students.
"Your job may be anywhere in the world. You must be comfortable in traveling and seeking opportunities. We see it as our responsibility for local students to be globally compatible," Prakasam said.
17 February, 2011
Two Chinese Ferris State international students were given a taste of home at FLITE's Chinese New Year Celebration on Feb. 10. Ferris marketing major Xiao Gun Zhang, and biology major Xiaohua Li, were among a mixed crowd of local and international students enjoying Chinese culture in Big Rapids.
A native of Zhengzhou, China, Li has been in America for nearly two years. Li said her parents encouraged her to come to America to pursue her education. She said she was really excited to come to America and study abroad.
"I wanted to study abroad," said Li. "America has a good education and Ferris' pharmacy program is better than other schools'."
Traditional Chinese Lunar New Year foods include steamed wheat bread, rice pudding and a vegetarian dish called jai composed of lotus seed and Ginkgo nut. These are just a few of the foods Gun Zhang enjoys in his hometown of Beijing.
Enjoying his first two months in America, Gun Zhang celebrated last Chinese New Year in Dubai. Gun Zhang said celebrating with Ferris students has allowed him to experience different cultures. "It's good to celebrate our Chinese roots," said Gun Zhang.
Both Li and Gun Zhang said they plan to be at Ferris for the next couple years. Gun Zhang said once he graduates, he plans to return to Dubai and work for his father's piping company.
09 February, 2011
Ferris State University's "Bring A Little, Taste A Little Luau-Themed Dinner" was hosted by the Office of International Education.
The theme of this international student-centered event returned inside the U.S. borders and features a Hawaiian twist.
"Usually our events are focused on other countries, but this time we put a spin on it and made it more American, hence the luau," said Shana Beisiegel, administrative assistant in OIE.
Beisiegel emphasized that international events are another way to share the cultures of Ferris' international students and allow interaction amongst students in a more casual setting.
09 February, 2011
With the current political crises in Egypt and Tunisia, spectators and speculators across the globe are left wondering if the Muslim world is truly ready to accept democracy.
That was precisely the subject of an open discussion held for students, faculty and community members alike on Feb. 3 in FLITE 408. Ferris professors Krishnakali Majumdar, Meral Topcu, Donald Roy and J. Randall Groves moderated the debate arranged to answer the question, "Is Islam compatible with democracy and women's rights?"
The subject was a controversial one, as are all subjects that distinguish conflict between religion and modern philosophy. The turnout was small—nearly 20 audience members in attendance—and even fewer questions were asked.
According to Professor Topcu, the Middle East is still having "growing pains." She said it is inevitable they will one day embrace democracy, but it will hurt getting there. Topcu, a native of Turkey, considers herself Muslim.
In recent history, some Islamic cultures have been having issues regarding the treatment of women. The repression of women is a common theme in many religions, with Catholicism, Judaism and Christianity all sharing similar histories with Islam in that sense.
"Religions reflect the times they were created," said Dr. Groves. "Women's rights are a relatively new thing."
The world is changing and some parts of it, despite having struggles, are actually trying to adapt to the new environments.
02 February, 2011
Ferris opened a wide door of possibilities to three students who simply had the courage to walk through it. Sarah Nagel, Kyle Lucas and Demaris McBride partook in a career-changing seven week FSU study abroad program in Seoul, South Korea last summer.
Since studying away, all three students have been offered year-long teaching positions in South Korea.
During their stay in Seoul, the first three weeks of the program were designated to tutor students in English. After their experience of tutoring other college students, the rest of the program was for personal education studies. Some classes attended were art history, Korean language for beginners, and eastern civilization.
There is an old saying: "Where there is despair, sow hope."
Mary Dailey Brown, founder and CEO of SowHope, gave a presentation at Ferris State University on Tuesday, Feb. 8. The event, presented by Ferris' Globalization Initiative, showcased Brown's inspiring projects aimed at one of the most disadvantaged groups globally, women who make less than $2 per day.
SowHope helps disadvantaged women through programs that include loans, healthcare, counseling, scholarships, literacy classes and vocational training. The organization has supported more than 18,000 women in nine developing countries.
Brown earned a bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University, where she majored in Psychology and Photography.
19 January, 2011
Ferris State University's Office of International Education opened a channel of communication through a diverse religious dialogue and its Global Reflections series.
A panel comprised of campus and Big Rapids community representatives include Pastor John Bookshaw, of St. Peter's Lutheran Church; Ahmed Taha, a Ferris student and president of the Muslim Student Organization on campus; and Joseph Castano, who will provide the Jehovah's Witness perspective.
"We picked religion, because it's generally a hot topic. It's not a debate. It's an opportunity to ask questions about misconceptions we create," said Shana Beisiegel, an administrative assistant in OIE.
Global Reflections started during the fall 2010 semester. The discussions are held every other week at 11 a.m. The topic of religious diversity was the only religious-based topic in the series this semester.
12 January, 2011
Ferris State junior guard/forward Tricia Principe will travel to Glasgow, Scotland for a two-month graphic design internship this summer.
Principe, a native of Kalamazoo and graduate of Mattawan High School, said she studied abroad in Europe the past few summers and loved it. "I decided on Glasgow because I have a friend that lives there that could help me out and be a good contact," said Principe. "I searched online for all the graphic design companies in Glasgow and sent emails and called many of the companies."
Principe landed an internship position at 55 Degrees, a company that builds websites and specializes in overall systems architecture for online digital media.
Learning from the global communities he sets out to educate, Ferris State University's Phillip Middleton submerges himself in cultures abroad in the pursuit of education and intellectual intrigue.
Middleton, a professor of English and two-time Fulbright Scholar, has taught African-American
poetry in Croatia the last two summers. Passionate about teaching abroad and immersing
himself in other cultures, Middleton plans to travel abroad again in March of 2011.
This time he is heading to Ireland to teach students from the National University
of Ireland, Maynooth, about the mechanics and culture of African-American dialectal
Middleton began teaching at Ferris in 1989 and has taught African-American literature, African literature, Shakespeare and freshman composition courses. A 2003 recipient of Ferris' Distinguished Teacher award, he also has served as a Fulbright scholar in the Sudan, Romania and Syria.
23 November, 2010
Maria Davis, who unknowingly contracted HIV from her soon-to-be husband and at one point was in a hospital near death, has since devoted her life to the education of children, young adults, men, and women about AIDS and HIV.
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, World AIDS Day 2010, Davis visited Ferris State University to speak. Her presentation, "Sex in the City II", was sponsored by a coalition led by student organizations You Beautiful Black Woman and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
"HIV/AIDS doesn't target one color or race. It's something that is deadly and can be prevented simply by spreading the word," said Haley, who added that more than 2,000 people between the ages of 20-24 and more than 800 between the ages of 13-19 were diagnosed with HIV in Michigan.
08 October, 2010
Combining a variety of customs, cultures and cuisine, the Ferris State University Office of International Education hosted an international benefit dinner to create a unique learning opportunity for area high school teachers.
"Proceeds from this dinner will be used to create a scholarship opportunity for a local public school teacher," said Shana Beisiegel, Office of International Education secretary. "With this scholarship, he or she will be able to go on a short-term, 10- to 15-day study abroad trip to a country of their choice."
With live musical entertainment and a six-course meal spotlighting an authentic dish from six different countries, the benefit also featured faculty representatives from each of the six countries to give guests insight behind the customs and traditions of the food being served.
23 September, 2010
Continuing to honor the colorful and intricate history of the Hispanic culture, Ferris State University students and community members will celebrate diversity as they participate in observing Hispanic Heritage Month through a series of on-campus activities.
"All of the events expose Ferris students to Hispanic culture, history and language in a Latino environment," Ferris Recruiting Officer Natalia Carvalho-Pinto said. "These events also bring to the campus community discussions on current and significant issues the Hispanic community faces."
"Hispanic culture is a vital part of American culture and the Ferris community should have opportunities to engage in and participate in programs to learn more about it. It is our goal that participants at this month's featured events will have an enhanced knowledge of Hispanic culture," Wade said.
15 September, 2010
Uruguay: Education, Traditions, Culture and Tourism brought in speaker Violeta Seferian from Uruguay to share her culture.The event took place Sept. 9 and so many students, faculty, and community members attended that there weren't enough chairs to seat everyone. Seferian shared information about history, politics, education, music, food, and other cultural information. She said that Uruguay is a small country, but it has a lot going for it.
They have an education system similar to that of the United States with different levels such as elementary school, middle school, secondary school, and college. The main difference is all public education is free, including college. Seferian spoke about things Uruguayans liked to do in their free time, such as watching Murga, which is musical theater that makes fun of current social and political events. She also said they enjoyed dancing and soccer.
Overall, Seferian liked visiting and sharing her culture. She said, "People don't know about our country because it's far away and I want it [Uruguay] to be known."
14 September, 2010
Carrying out its mission to create a population of civically and politically engaged individuals, the Political Engagement Project of Ferris State University hosted a panel discussion to explore the complexities and controversies of immigration in 21st century America.
"The Political Engagement Project's mission is to engage students in discussions about political activity as a means to either change or preserve our democracy," Alspach added. "Students who attend the discussion should expect to learn about what the laws and Constitution say about immigration today; the historical context for our evolving perceptions of immigration issues; the social and political implications for enforcing, changing or rescinding our immigration laws and policies; and about the impact these policies have on Ferris students as we continue to increase our international student enrollment."
30 August, 2010
Piram Prakasam sees a bright future ahead for international relations at Ferris State University, and he's excited to foster change first-hand in his new role as director of the university's Office of International Education.
"One of my goals is to provide more international education opportunities for students," he added.
Other measures implemented by the office to foster international education at Ferris include the Globalization Initiative, developed in 2009; and recent work in creating articulation agreements with The Polytechnic, Ibadan in Nigeria, and Dankook University in Yongin, South Korea.
Hoping to provide education in addition to furthering her own, Ferris State University's Dr. Marietta Bell-Scriber will cross continental borders and cultural boundaries to teach in the Republic of Cyprus as a Fulbright Scholar.
Bell-Scriber, professor of Nursing, Michigan Master's in Nursing Program coordinator and Ferris graduate, was awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach at the University of Nicosia and Near East University. She will leave for the Eurasian island-country this September for a nine-month stay.
"I've been reading and reading about the country, the culture, the people, and using the last eight months to prepare. I'm excited; this is an international scholar exchange--a mutual exchange of ideas, respect, and learning," Bell-Scriber concluded.
Office of International Education
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