International Faces: Three students share their experience on campus

It’s the start of a brand new year for the Huskies at home and abroad. This week, we shined a spotlight on three international students from three different countries about their time at SCSU and for some, their journey stops at the end of this semester.



XinHao Tao is from China and she’s been in the U.S. since the Fall of 2016.

XinHao (Amy) Tao is from China. She’s majoring in finance and has been in the U.S. for over one year. She said her time at SCSU has been good overall. Tao also came with a cohort of 70 students as part of a program. She said studying abroad is “so cool, it’s really cool,” but sometimes she misses home and especially misses the food from there.

Tao also mentions studying abroad. “You meet many new people and different faces, different opinions and different ideas.” She has visited a couple of other states in the U.S. such as New York City and Seattle.

Her next plan is to go to Chicago. She hopes to find an internship soon and do her CPT (Curricular Practical Training) and OPT (Optional Practical Training) that international students must do to legally work in the U.S.

Jaewho Ko is from South Korea and currently working on her Master’s in Special Education.

Jaewho (Adrianna) Ko is from South Korea and is also part of a partnership program that allowed her to come to St. Cloud State for one year where she’s able to take a special education course.

“I really, really liked it,” she said. Ko then went back to her hometown to renew her visa and I-20 application to come back to the U.S. as a transfer student.

She has been at SCSU for four years and got her Bachelor’s in Elective Studies in 2015. She’s now doing her teaching license, graduate certificate and master’s degree.

“That’s why it’s taking so long to get my master’s,” Ko said. Likewise, she got her Teaching License in Special Education for K-12 last summer and she has only two more semesters left for her master’s. She then went back to her hometown to renew her visa and her I-20 application to come back to the U.S. as a transfer student. She has been at SCSU for four years and got her Bachelor’s in Elective Studies in 2015. She’s going for her teaching license, graduate certificate, and master’s.

Ko has only two more semesters left to complete her degree and she’s sad to not be returning back home, although she really enjoys being here – except for the brutal weather in the winter. An interesting tip that she brings up is that foreign exchange students should try to get involved in different activities and try new things. Many international students usually focus on just improving their English and sometimes tend to mostly hang around people that they can speak with in their mother tongue. Ko, however, discourages that tendency that if any student wants to improve their English, “you have to get out of your comfort zone and that takes a lot of courage to do.”

Muhammad Alnassar (left) is from Saudi Arabia and studying Business Finance as an undergraduate standing with Gov. Mark Dayton


Mohammad Alnassar is from Saudi Arabia studying finance at SCSU. He has been in Minnesota since 2013 where he started to take ESL courses at the Saint Paul Global Language Institute. He said he’s “Interning at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester as an Assistant Director of Operations and Patient Coordinator.”

He really likes SCSU because of the diversified mindset that the university has and the support for minority groups and that there’s a lot of help for all international students to be involved in all activities, as well as having equal opportunities on campus. He found unique opportunities here that he felt wouldn’t have been possible back home.

He strongly encourages anyone who’s thinking about studying abroad because, “you will learn a great deal from being in a different culture.” Along with the difference in the education system. Alnassar hopes to eventually finish up his undergraduate career and get a scholarship for doing his master’s.



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Sarv Mithaqiyan

Sarv Mithaqiyan (a.k.a. Sodid Misaghian) is a Baha'i, journalist, philosopher and runs a YouTube channel entitled Elevated & Meaningful. He's a news reporter for UTVS and currently getting his Master's in Strategic Mass Communication at SCSU. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Minor in Religious Studies from UC Davis. Follow him on twitter @SarvMithaq

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