Preview, rededication of International Hall

Sonoma State University will be welcoming the new International Hall to campus, located in what was formerly the Student Union.

This rededication of International Hall will take place Monday, Sept. 22 from 3-5 p.m., and will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony with President Armiñana, along with music, refreshments and video and an image slideshow to celebrate.

This rededication of the International Hall is being implemented to further meet the needs of international students attending Sonoma State as well as any current or prospective students who wish to participate in any international affairs.

The lower level of the former Student Union is being officially renamed as International Hall and serves to “make a dramatic difference to international students and those who provide SSU services,” said Dean of the School of Extended and International Education, Mark Merickel. “These services are necessary to support the existing students and provide a motivation for a new model of worldwide recruitment of international students.”

There are roughly 120 foreign students studying through the International Program, with approximately 40 in the Language Institute.

The hall and its staff work with foreign students, helping them meet United States Immigration and Naturalization Service requirements, VISA assistance, passports, school transfers, as well as employment permits.  International students are also assisted in registration, payments and fees, scholarships, housing, health insurance and are even given the option of counseling in the case that they struggle adjusting to American culture.

In addition to assisting international students, the newly rededicated International Hall will also handle the Study Abroad department and the National Student Exchange. The Study Abroad team works to assist students in completing part of their degree overseas. Workshops are held to help students choose appropriate academic programs, and Sonoma State hosts an Abroad Fair annually.

Senior, Amanda Barr spent a year abroad in Sweden. 

“It was the most amazing year of my life. Sweden was an awesome country to live and grow in. I really appreciated the opportunity to travel the world and explore new cultures,” said Barr

Student Nicole Weeber, who spent a year abroad in London says, “My year abroad was the most exciting and challenging adventure I’ve ever experienced. Gaining an understanding of how other cultures live, and getting the chance to be a part of that culture, is something I’m so grateful for.”

National Student Exchange (NSE) is a program directed towards students who are interested in studying in a different state. There are almost 200 colleges and universities throughout the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands that participate in the National Student Exchange program. Students who take part in NSE study at another campus keep their enrollment status at Sonoma State. Through this program students can avoid out-of-state tuition and utilize their financial aid.

“Students cite academic diversification, the chance to travel, experiencing different geographic and cultural settings, personal growth and becoming more independent as reasons for participating in NSE,” as stated Sonoma State’s National Student Exchange website.

These programs allow students to continue their degree, while getting the experience of studying amongst more diverse groups of people.

Included in the rededicated International Hall are four “smart classrooms.”  These classrooms “are equipped with state-of-the-art electronic teaching and learning systems, numerous whiteboards, and tables and chairs that can be arranged for various teaching styles including breakouts, teams and individual work.”

The new International Hall was funded entirely by the School of Extended and International Education’s auxiliary funds.

“The new Center for International Education will make a dramatic difference for International students and the individuals who provide the SSU services necessary to support the existing students,” said Dean Merickel. “[It also] provides a motivation for a new model of worldwide recruitment of International students to attend SSU and SSU students to study abroad.”

See the ribbon cutting ceremony welcoming the rededicated International Hall on Monday at 3 p.m.