Some Cal State Fullerton international students arrived from populous countries like India to earn their degrees in a country with less competitive academics.
“It’s less populated in the United States, so there are lots of opportunities here. There’s lots of vacant spots in which they can fill,” said Arunav Bora, a member of the International Student Association at CSUF.
Even when competition in a field is not a factor, some students must leave their country to pursue a certain profession.
To earn her master’s degree in information systems and decision sciences Jinal Nehda moved from Mumbai, India to Fullerton . She said it would not be an option for her if she stayed in India, because she wasn’t aware of universities in India that offered the program.
Nehda chose CSUF mainly for its prominence in academic programs.
“The courses and the content that (Fullerton) teaches are really used in real-world applications,” Nehda said.
Senior business major Kim Heng Nte from Cambodia chose CSUF because of its diversity. The university’s institutional research and analytical studies website shows over six different ethnic groups represented at the school.
“I used to think that over here I was going to only see Caucasian people with no other races. When I am here, it is really eye-opening. I see so many different people from all kinds of backgrounds. I really value the diversity here on campus,” Nte said.
While academics and culture are common reasons for international students to move, the biggest struggle for many is the language barrier.
Nte said the issue is mostly about the ability to respond to their professors or peers, leaving many afraid of being called on in class and not knowing how to answer.
Nte said he was advised to step out of his comfort zone and interact with students by engaging in leadership roles and joining clubs.
While homesickness can be a problem for students, Bora encourages them to remember their purpose for coming to CSUF.
“I would say that from my personal view, if you have some commitments, if you have some work, if you have some internships, then that is the stuff that really matters. At the end of the day, you’re going to make your home proud of that,” Bora said.