Thousands of students travel to dozens of countries every year thanks to the coordination efforts of the Office of International Affairs, which has several units that, for example, deal with international studies, international students and students that study abroad.
Two of the largest OIA programs work with students who are coming in as international students and students who study abroad. The study abroad program works with consortiums of universities such as the Oregon University System, the Council on International Educational Exchanges and Northwest Study Abroad.
More than 100 study abroad programs are offered in about 40 countries, according to Judy Van Dyck, director of International Student and Scholar Services.
"Without the consortia, PSU's study abroad programs would be very limited," Van Dyck said.
The OIA and Scholar Services are made up of 1,750 international students from almost 100 countries, according to Van Dyck. This office offers cultural programs, immigration services advising and collaborates with admissions for international students.
Scholar services also works with more than 100 scholars and researchers who come to PSU to work on grants, write books or collaborate on academic projects, said Van Dyck.
Ron Witczak, assistant vice provost and director of education abroad, said he is excited about the growth in international studies at PSU since he came to the university in 1995.
Witczak cites exponential growth in international opportunities for the PSU student population and the active engagement of faculty who take students all over the world. These programs include international capstones that satisfy the senior requirement for many students.
Another unit of the OIA, the Middle East Studies Center, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009. The MESC does community outreach to help educate and inform the public on cultural and political subjects within the international studies department, according to Van Dyck.
"The MESC provides information, guidance and assistance with the often challenging process of selecting and applying to a study abroad program in a Middle Eastern country," according to the MESC website.
Another unit of the OIA is the Confucius Institute that has been operating at PSU for roughly three years and is supported by the Chinese government. It has several sites around the U.S. that teach Americans about China through community outreach, language classes, celebrations and visiting speakers, according to Van Dyck.
A big event for the OIA is international night on May 14 at PSU. Around 1,000 people are expected for the event that allows students to see what international PSU is all about, according to Van Dyck.