The Daily Gamecock

USC welcomes diverse group of international students

USC hosts more than 80 internationals annually


Most USC students join the Study Abroad program in hopes of traveling to unique places like France or Japan, but international students are coming to USC for the same reasons. The university is host to between 80 and 90 international students each semester. International Student Services (ISS) has helped an overall 1,200 international students receive degrees.

Alex Rutherford, a second-year history student from England, said he chose USC to experience the Southern way of life.

"South Carolina has such a rich culture and history," Rutherford said. "It's a quite distinct, unique experience in the South."

Rutherford added that studying abroad is a great way to discover new things about oneself and he has realized he wants to live in America after receiving his degree.

Jennifer Engel, director of USC study abroad, said Rutherford is not alone in this realization.

"The United States is a valuable place for students from other countries who are learning English and receiving a degree. South Carolina is a welcoming place to do that," Engel said.

International Programs at USC, which includes the International Student Services and Study Abroad offices, aims to develop a more diverse student body, expand global learning and increase the university's international outreach.

Engel said studying abroad helps students interact in a world where everyone is interconnected through technology, media and business systems.

"It's USC's responsibility to help prepare students in developing the skills and knowledge they need to interact and be effective," Engel said.

Yumiko Nishino, a fourth-year English student from Japan, studied abroad in Minnesota before coming to USC to be exposed to diverse cultures. During her time at USC, she found advertising and public relations classes to particularly peak her interests.

"I'm taking a Super Bowl Advertising course, and it's just so interesting," Nishino said. "Now I want to go back to Japan and find a job at some type of advertising agency."

English Programs for Internationals (EPI) provides English courses to international students who need to improve their speech for education or social purposes.

International Programs and Student Services also help international students in the transition from schools in their native country to USC.

Minjeong Shin, fourth-year chemistry student, noticed the several academic differences and cultural differences, between South Carolina and her native South Korea.

"It's very competitive to get a degree in Korea, but here we can study together," Shin said.

Engel said many students find the greatest academic disparities to be changes in class involvement and participation as well as a greater amount of daily assignments.

"In Asia, specifically, there's not as much of a professor-student relationship. They aren't used to that interaction," Engel said.

To account for the transition, International Programs provides an arrival orientation, frequent mixers and volunteer students who help international students adjust to their new surroundings.

Anissa Harfouche, a third-year political science student from France, finds USC to be a much more welcoming environment than her native school.

"People are cool at USC, the teachers are nicer, too," Harfouche said.
Once international students become acquainted with the happenings on and around campus, they begin to enjoy and take part in the American ways of life.

Amy Yang, a Taiwanese third-year applied English major, said that attending USC presents a good chance to broaden her horizons and experience real American culture.

"Everybody has Southern hospitality and is really polite. I just really love the Gamecocks," Yang said.

Engel said the past seven years at USC have been outstanding ones for growth in students coming to USC as well as USC students studying abroad. She credits this increase to communication among international and USC students, as well as continued support from faculty.

Foreign exchange requirements for USC students include current immunizations, a student visa, an academic schedule of at least 12 credit hours, and on-campus housing.

Students interested in studying abroad should contact the Study Abroad Office in Legare College, Suite 321 at 902 Sumter St. or email