East Lansing, Mich. (WLNS)– The start of fall semester at Michigan State University is just a week and a half away, but the Spartan experience is going to be much different, especially for those who aren’t coming back to East Lansing.
“It’s just been really difficult honestly,” Nikunj Agarwal, an International Student at MSU said. Agarwal also represents the university’s International Students Association. He said from visas to ICE regulations, there’s a lot of added stress, and as traditional students scramble to finalize housing and schedules, international students face a number of additional challenges.
“Time zone, internet connectivity, software connectivity…. anything can go wrong anytime,” Agarwal said.
Some of MSU’s courses are at scheduled times, which means if a class is at 4 p.m. EDT, it’s 1:30 a.m. in India.
“Which is practically not possible to be honest. You’ve got to change your entire sleep cycle.”
He said the difficulties all add up, impacting not just students’ academics, but their entire lifestyle, and with tuition costing more for international students, there’s yet another question some are asking.
“Is it actually worth spending so many thousand dollars just to actually virtually study in a situation that you have to stay up all night just to attend classes?” a friend of Agarwal’s asked him.
He said some professor’s have been accommodating, but others have not. In general, Agarwal said he’s received a lot of support from not just the Office of International Students and Scholars, but the entire administration.
“It just gives us a feeling of belongingness and just makes us feel that MSU is following the path of diversity,” he said.
Agarwal chose to spend the fall semester studying remotely in his home country of India, but said students have the option to fill out a form and a select number will be approved to live on campus. He’s encouraging his fellow Spartans not to apply on a whim, but to consider those who actually need to live in the dorms for safety, access to technology, or any other reason.
“If it’s your need that you need to be on campus because you think that’s a safer place for you, you do not have a place which can give you the comfort and you the comfort and you do not have the facilities to progress in your education is when you apply for the position.”
He also has a another request.
“The other appeal I have is to faculty and professors at MSU to be more accommodating and to be more flexible with the schedules as to providing international students with a little more room to function.”