Global Citizens Plaza

International students to be greeted with a world of support

When Chapman University students return to campus this fall, a record number of more than 500 international students representing 70 countries will be among them.

And thanks to the work and suggestions of the
Chapman Diversity Project
, their transition to life and academics here will be made a little easier. International students will be welcomed with a full day of orientation activities prior to regular orientation. Among the highlights will be talks on classroom protocol – American professors expect student participation in class discussions – and that mainstay of college life, a pizza dinner in the Student Union.

“This is a new and improved orientation for international students. We’ve especially beefed it up for undergrads,” said Susan Sams, an international student and scholar services coordinator at Chapman.

Additional workshops will follow, including one on resume writing and job hunting, as work-study programs are not available to international students. In addition, Sams said the Diversity Project will continue to look at international students’ unique needs, from transportation to housing.

This year’s international enrollment is expected to include 265 undergraduates, with China, Saudi Arabia and India being the leading countries of origin. Business administration and film production are their top areas of study. The
MFA in film production
, the
MBA in business
and the
LLM in law
are the top draws for international graduate students. (These numbers represent degree-seeking students, not those here on semester or year-long exchanges.)


Chapman’s annual International Food Fair is always a popular campus event with international students.

As the University’s international student population grew, it became apparent that more services and welcome activities were needed to help them get a footing, said Junko Takada, a department assistant for international student and scholar services. Takada, who came to the United States as an international student, knows firsthand the challenges of simultaneously starting a new academic program and adjusting to a different culture. She’s excited about this year’s new programming and the continuing interest of the Diversity Project in the students’ Chapman experience.

“The level of support that these students are getting when they’re here is drastically improving,” Takada said.

And that’s all good for Chapman and contributes to its goal of global citizenship, Sams said.

“They bring diversity to the campus, of course,” she said. “It’s exciting.”

Meet the Students

You can learn more about some of Chapman’s international students in a series of profile videos produced by Panther Productions and available for viewing on the Chapman University’s YouTube channel. Here’s one about Yuri Scharan from Brazil to get you started!


Dawn Bonker

1 comment

  • Congrats to all who have come from afar because being an international student isn’t easy, given our complex culture and language. Assistance must come from numerous sources to aid these young people embarking on life’s journey. Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and informative books to extend a cultural helping hand so we all have a win-win situation.

    One such new award-winning worldwide book/ebook that reaches out to help anyone coming to the US is “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” It is used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors. It also identifies “foreigners” who became successful in the US and how they’ve contributed to our society, including students.

    A chapter on education explains how to be accepted to an American university and cope with a confusing new culture, friendship process and daunting classroom differences. Some stay after graduation. It has chapters that explain how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work with/for an American firm here or overseas.

    It also has chapters that identify the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.

    Good luck to all at Chapman or wherever you study!