Expanding International Opportunities at Penn State DuBois
DuBois – In continuing efforts to make Penn State DuBois a global campus, the Office of International Student Services has been created. Working under the office of Admissions, Tharren Thompson, of DuBois, has been named the International Student Services Coordinator.
This is among Chancellor Anita McDonald’s efforts to recruit students from other countries. McDonald has said she believes local and international students alike can benefit from learning about different cultures.
Once international students arrive, Thompson takes them under his wing. He helps them adjust to the campus and the community, introduces them to faculty, staff and students, and helps them build relationships. Overall, his goal is to help the students remain comfortable and to help them embrace the community. Likewise, he’ll help the community embrace the international students. “I want to also maximize the opportunities for domestic students and faculty to benefit from them being here,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s efforts extend beyond the campus, however. He also works to help international students find housing and employment and even helps them set up bank accounts. He’s sensitive to the needs of people who have come far from home, because he’s been there himself.
“I’ve moved to other countries, I’ve done the visas and I’ve been through all of it before,” Thompson noted, as he recalled his days doing mission work and teaching English as a second language in South Asia.
Thompson, who holds a Masters in International Communications has also lived in the United Kingdom, and has studied various foreign languages. It’s this background that makes him the man for the job, according to Admissions Officer Melissa Duttry, who said, “What Tharren brings is the breadth and depth and understands the multicultural parts so much better than anyone else.”
Thompson now works closely with a new freshman at Penn State DuBois who is also new to the states. Weesam Abouelanasr was born of Egyptian parents in Canada. He’s just started college at Penn State DuBois, and is looking forward to his first year.