(Buffalo, N.Y.) – SUNY Buffalo State had an enrollment of 10,661 students in 2014 and roughly 300 of those were international students, who often face stricter policies the general student population.
“Every year, the number of international students becomes more and more. We have so many policies for them, thereby distinguishing between them and our local students,” said Dr. Jean F. Gourand, director for International Student Affairs.
“Undergraduate (international students must take at least 12 credits each semester and graduate students must take 9 credits each semester and they cannot choose more than one online class,” said Gourand. Additionaly, international students who see their GPA drop below 2.0 have only one semester to improve their grades before the are dismissed from the college.
“For each semester, I always choose 15 credits, because as an international student, I must be full-time student,” said Mengying Du, 22, a hospitality management major from China.
“I have never taken an online class, because for an international student, we can only take one online class when I have 12 credits, but I’m not used to taking an online class, so I am so careful to choose my courses,” said Du.
Agnes Ge is a student from New York City, who faces different policies than international students, because she has financial aid.
“Each semester I choose 15 or 18 credits, which includes one or more online classes, because non-international students do not have any policies for online classes. We also can be part-time students, when we need to work outside of campus,” said Ge, a 23-year-old photography major.
“I have a bad memory about choosing major. I remembered that I chose interior design as my major when I first came to this school. During my first semester, I chose five classes about interior design, but I failed four of them, because this major was really difficult to me, so my GPA became 0.75,” said Ge.
However, Ge had an opportunity to improve that GPA to the required 2.0, which might not have been a possibility for an international student.
Some international students say the stricter policies can be a little bit difficult to deal with, especially if the school does not tell them about the policies before classes begin. As a result, many international students make mistakes navigating those policies.
The International Student Office is a good place for students to ask questions about what is expected of them, according to Dr. Gourand. The office attempts to help international students make a successful transition to Buffalo State and the U.S., she said.