Every fall, along with a fresh class of first year-students, comes a new class of international students at USD.
With the spring semester winding down, the preparation for the fall semester has begun, and, for the USD International Office, this means organizing paperwork, planning orientations and connecting with new international students who will be on campus this fall.
Patrick Morrison, associate director of the international office, said with all communication with students being strictly digital, there have been some obstacles in preparing with the fall.
“The International Office is always looking for ways to keep our students engaged and supported on campus and right now that is our main goal,” Morrison said in an email interview with The Volante. “That being said, our admissions team are busy processing applications for fall and we hope for a return to normalcy — or at least as close to normal as can be expected — by August.”
Normally, the international students attend a comprehensive two-day orientation before the traditional campus-wide welcome week, Morrison said. This is also paired with a longer pre-orientation delivered digitally.
“With the new technologies being utilized on campus, such as Zoom, we are looking at ways to make the pre-orientation content even more interactive and robust to help reassure and prepare our new students for life at USD,” Morrison said.
Because of the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Morrison said it has been challenging to figure out the best ways to prepare international students for their first semesters at USD.
“We are dealing with students from over 50 countries and therefore 50 different COVID-19 outbreaks,” Morrison said. “But, there has been a tremendous level of understanding on all sides that has made the situation much easier to work with.”
By the end of the summer, Morrison said he hopes life at USD will return back to normal.
“If we are in a position come August where we are able to welcome new international students to USD and students, faculty and staff are all back in Vermillion, we’ll be very happy indeed,” Morrison said.