Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: My name is Somya Dwivedi-Burks. I work as an international student adviser at Penn State York. Although I have been working on this campus for four years as a full-time instructor in biology, this is my first year working in this position.
Q: What made you interested in this position?
A: Working with international students is very close to my heart. I was born and raised in India and came to the United States of America about nine years ago as an international student to pursue a Ph.D. degree. In addition to the academic training and support that I received during my stay in the program, the international student office played an important role in my success as a student.
It is this experience that I wanted to share with the international student community on our campus.
Q: So what does your job entail?
A: My job typically consists of advising students about immigration documents, planning and organizing an international student orientation at the beginning of semester, assisting students with their transition into a new country with accommodations, etc., and planning activities that enhance a positive experience in a place away from their home countries.
Q: What are your favorite and not so favorite things about the job?
A: The favorite part of my job is getting to meet students from different cultural backgrounds. Our campus currently has about forty-three international students from China, India, South Korea, Colombia, and Mexico. I am interested to know their thoughts about the American culture and other world events. In my experience, every student brings me an opportunity to learn more about them and about the assistance that I can provide them. There is always something new to learn in my job.
My not-so favorite thing about the job is a bit of sadness during the commencement ceremony each semester. Being a small campus, we are very close-knit, like a family. Having seen these students come to our campus for the first time, learn to be independent and responsible in the time they spend here and ultimately successfully accomplish their academic goals; makes me very proud but a bit sad too when they leave.
Q: Please tell us about the different events that are organized for the international students on campus.
A: We have a lot of events/activities that are open for all students to attend. Some of the activities that I have been involved with are: International Coffee Hour; which is held every week and is a great place to take a break, make new friends and of course, grab some tea/coffee and cookies. Additionally, there are trips to cities that are close by like New York City and Washington, D.C. which are very popular with the students too. Last month we organized an event to celebrate the Muslim festival –Eid –al-Adhaa. This event was organized by the Asian Culture Club, which is one of our student organizations on campus. It was well appreciated by all the students (both international and domestic). We are always thinking about new ways to engage our students.
For more information, please contact Somya Dwivedi-Burks at 717-771-8419 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.