International students endure on-campus limitations over break
The Sun Star
With few dining resources available and many other on-campus facilities closed during the winter break, French Professor Yelena Matusevich took two Brazilian international students, with knowledge of only rudimentary stores for groceries and clothing, on a tour of the city of Fairbanks.
Matusevich, former French professor to petroleum engineer student Marcel Soubkovsky-Clemente, took it upon herself to provide a tour around Fairbanks to Creamer’s Field, Barnes & Noble, the Artisan’s Courtyard, the oldest Catholic church and café in Fairbanks, the downtown area and also provided some historical facts about the city. She felt dismayed and surprised that these international students were left on campus with little information on the facilities the city of Fairbanks had to offer.
“It is just that the services are missing because when I talked to Marcel, he said when they went to Pennsylvania they took them on an excursion to New York on the same program to Washington, they took care of them,” she said.
Yan Trindade, an international student from Brazil who is studying petroleum engineering, said that the international students received an introductory presentation of the areas on campus as well as bus line schedules and the student handbook – which consisted of information about health insurance, meal plans and buildings in the university.
Going on the tour with Matusevich left Trindade feeling “like the city has a lot of activities to offer. Before that we thought that the university was the best thing in the city.”
Trindade wanted more information about the city of Fairbanks and suggested the International Programs & Initiatives department offer a “tour around the city by van” that would incorporate information about “the city, historical places, the regional art gallery and the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center.”
From her editorial “International students deserve better reception at UAF,” which was published in the News-Miner, Matusevich received a response from a UAF student who had studied abroad to Germany as well as a couple of e-mails from people saying they would love to get involved and wanted to know where they could apply or ask about hosting an international student for Christmas break or at least inviting them to Christmas dinner and showing them around.
Compared to other universities worldwide,
UAF is “similar in providing a combination of university-focused information and programming and practical information on local services and events,” Anger said.
She hopes in the future for orientation information to be provided online so that students can access the information prior to their arrival at UAF and so they have continuous access to the information with the overall goal to ensure domestic and international students have a positive and successful experience at UAF.
Petroleum engineering and Brazilian international student, Ianny Andrade, who also stayed on campus during winter break, felt that it would’ve been useful to know that the Wood Center would close, or that she wouldn’t have anything to do here.
“It was depressing,” Andrade said about staying on campus during winter break. “Everything was closed, it was dark most of the time and there weren’t many things to do.” She suggested that overall, “these programs should try to make some activities for students who stay, because in my experience, we were completely forgotten.”