Representatives from the Fairmont State University Tulasi & Marilyn Joshi Office for Educational Pathways for International Centers and Students (EPICS) are looking ahead to resume both on campus intercultural and international activities after a temporary pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had international students on campus during the pandemic and had activities in support of them, but this year is definitely ramping back up with Sarah Sakaguchi taking the lead,” said Fairmont State University Vice President for Student Success and Director for Educational Pathways for International Centers and Students, Ken Fettig.
Fairmont State University Coordinator for Educational Pathways for International Centers and Students, Sarah Sakaguchi, explained there are approximately 40 international students from various countries enrolled at Fairmont State University.
“They’re so excited to be back on campus, although, most of them have been back since last year,” said Sakaguchi. “Our new students are excited to be studying in the states, particularly at Fairmont State.”
During the upcoming year, the International Student Organization will reestablish a presence on campus to bridge the gap between domestic and international students. The International Student Council will also be introduced to provide an outlet for international students to express themselves and allowing for a platform to reach organizations on campus.
EPICS intercultural events will also be reintroduced during the fall semester, beginning with the World Literacy Day celebration on Thursday, September 8 with content to be shared throughout the day by international students on the Fairmont State social media platforms.
Several other events will take place this fall, including the popular “Taste of the World,” which will return with a new twist. The event will be reintroduced as “Taste of Fairmont State,” where students will sample native dishes from specific global regions.
“Taste of Fairmont State” will be featured as part of the International Education Celebration in November, along with an intercultural poetry slam and fashion show. The various cultures across campus will be highlighted and shared during the celebration.
“We want to reach our international audience and show them that we are an international campus and that we are welcoming of people of every single culture,” Sakaguchi said.
In addition, Fairmont State's Study Aboard program has also been recently revitalized. The University is currently hosting two students from the University of Calabria in Italy this semester, while two Fairmont State students have international academic placements made available through the Study Abroad program.
Sakaguchi explained she aims to grow the Study Abroad program and increase student participation.
“I want Fairmont State University to be the leader in the state when it comes to studying abroad,” Sakaguchi said. “I know that since the pandemic people have been fearful of traveling internationally, but we are facing it head-on and we are completely back up and running.”
Fettig also highlighted additional support options available to students who wish to study abroad but may be hesitant.
“It is really important that we get our students studying abroad again,” Fettig said. “We can make it affordable and accessible through our office and we know that when students venture outside of their comfort zone and their communities, it supports the University’s mission of providing transformative learning experiences.”
To learn more about EPICS and the Study Abroad Program, visit www.fairmontstate.edu/internationalstudents.