I once was an international student. It was a long time ago but I recently related that experience to friends whereby we discussed at length the problems of so many students from all over the world who are studying in Northeast Ohio’s colleges and universities. I wondered if they felt the same anxiety as I did. To add to my trepidation back then was the fact that it was also my first overseas trip that tilted my personal anxiety-meter to extreme.


Immersing oneself in another culture is exciting but it can also be stressful. An important section of Global Cleveland’s audience is working with international students who attend our local universities. Global Cleveland hopes to alleviate some of the stress and offer a sense of welcome to each student through our programing and presence on the campuses. From job fairs to social events, Global Cleveland helps to ease our newcomers into the Cleveland scene with hopes to retain them in our city after graduation. Increasing international student’s activities through Global Cleveland and other campus programs can make their experience more fun and entertaining and help ease their minds to better concentrate on their studies.

In addition to attending the many events that universities provide for their international students, my most important recommendation is that students immerse themselves in American culture and meet up with new English-speaking friends to learn and practice their language skills. I still regret that when I was abroad I spent more time with the American students and did not round out my foreign-language skills.

To help our international students studying in Northeast Ohio, Global Cleveland offers the assistance of community volunteers. Our staff connects the students to experienced job coaches and welcoming mentors. These job coach volunteers meet with the student on a one-on-one basis to help with resume writing, interview practice, or simply to make a social connection; welcoming mentors help the student explore the city and provide some friendly getting-to-know-you advice and help – be sure to check out our volunteer story to learn more!

Beyond those personal contacts, Global Cleveland is present at a host of workshops and events on the campuses of colleges and universities in Northeast Ohio. In the next two weeks we will be at Cuyahoga Community College, Lorain Community College, Cleveland State University and Kent State University working to network, meet-up, and discuss issues with international students and bolster our job coach program.

In the upcoming calendar year we will continue outreach to these and other educational institutions and organize similar events as well as helpful presentations with attorneys on immigration status and employment-based visas and the immigration process, post-graduation, should they be looking to stay in Ohio.

We know higher education can be stressful for students but we at Global Cleveland hope that our programing can minimize that anxiety. That’s one way that we are helping to make Cleveland a welcoming and international city! We hope you can join us in welcoming them, too.