CSU Bakersfield helps international students succeed in America


Mari Woodmansee

Event coordinators and International Students on campus gather around during talk time for fellowship on Sept. 3, 2019.

Maria Hernandez, Reporter

The Friendship Partners Program helps international students to succeed academically. The program offers international students the opportunity to explore Bakersfield and other nearby cities. International students decide to come to CSU Bakersfield because they like what they see on the CSUB website.

  The FPP was created more than 12 years ago. Each year International students that come to CSUB have the opportunity to travel to nearby cities. International students went to Avil and Pismo Beach on Saturday, Sept. 21, and for some of them, it was the first time they had been to a beach in their lives.

  International students who come to CSUB are selected by their home university. The best way to apply is online. However, “only two students per University are selected to come to CSUB,” said Yuri Sakamaki, Director of International Student Success and American Language Institute. This means that those students that are selected are fortunate.

  “International students are always traveling around the world, and many of the students who come to CSUB come for one semester,” said Sakamaki. Many students chose CSUB because it is a small city and it is not expensive to live in this area. There are many stores and even a movie theater nearby, and students can travel on the bus or walk. Everything is close to campus.

  International students meet in front of the Runner Café every Tuesday and Thursday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. During that time, students learn different cultural things about America, such as current events and various holidays. International students come from different countries, like Japan, India, and Vietnam.

  “When we say international it really is,” said Bob Stewart, a member of the Friendship Partner Program. Many international students decide to come to an American university because they want to speak English better. Tuesday talk time helps students, “to talk and get into conversational situations […] First days, they come all shy, and by the time they leave most of them do pretty well,” said Stewart.

  International students practice their English while they focus on their career goals. International students like to learn about the American culture, which is why they like to make new friends and learn more about how education in the United States works.

  “I have a lot of American friends,” said Roag Shailesh Patel, computer science major from the Class of 2022. He enjoys having the talk time because it “encourages your knowledge” said Patel.  International students can also share their college experiences and learn from each other. Students gain more friends by communicating, and talk time is a great option to interact with new people.

  “You get to talk to people from all over the world [who are] friendly and they are always happy to see you and they make you feel good,” said Zia Xiong, a business administration major from the Class of 2020.

  Some students decide to come to CSUB because it is a small university and offers a variety of programs. “CSUB was a good option for me, and it has a good business school,” said Xiong. Many other students come because CSUB offers programs that help international students to succeed academically. When students succeed in school, they make a brighter future for themselves