International students reflect on time at Washburn

Yash Chitrakar


Any given semester, Washburn hosts approximately 300 international students. Of these 300, 36 international students have completed their first semester at Washburn and living in the United States. Washburn has a wide array of opportunities, accommodations and degree-seeking programs for their international students, making up an inclusive and unique experience on campus. No matter their major, students also have the choice to study at Washburn from anywhere from one semester to as many years as it takes to gain one’s degree.

One of the most flexible amenities for international students is the living arrangements. Some students decide to live on campus amongst other international students in the International House or mixing in with local students in the Living Learning Center, Lincoln Hall, West Hall or the Washburn Village. Depending on whether or not students will remain for more than a year, the student could also live off campus using the Topeka Friendship Network. This organization allows international students to live off campus in less expensive apartments in the neighborhoods close to campus. Pre-arrival, TFN also coordinates with Washburn in acquiring living basics for each student such as linens and mattresses. The TFN is also responsible for assigning host families to international students. This means that each group of international students, usually four students at the most, has an American family that invites them over throughout their stay for family dinners, go to concerts or shows, and to mentor the students as they adjust to life and culture in America.

This exchange of culture and experiences, however, is not limited to international students and their host families. The International House also organizes various cultural festivals throughout the year in which all students and faculty can indulge in showcases of multicultural cuisine and entertainment. The grandest one in scale among these festivals is the yearly Celebration of Cultures.

The International House, or the I-House as many international students like to call it, also organizes events like the Capital Tour, ICT Event, ICT Tulip Fest, End-of-semester BBA, Start-of-Semester BBQ and the KC Trip to name a few.

The university makes all these efforts –living arrangements, community engagement and cultural experiences– to make the students’ transition from their home country to the United States smooth, exciting and unique.