Shya Erdman is currently Director of International Student and Scholar Services at Juniata College’s Center for International Education. Shya graduated from Juniata College in 2003 and returned as an employee in October of 2005. She has been with Juniata College for over 15 years! Here, Shya will provide insight into the international student experience.
What does your orientation for international students involve? Our office will hold a short orientation program prior to the College’s main student orientation. We help students transition to their residence hall and provide language testing if needed. We also have bank representatives available if they would like to open a U.S. bank account. We also take the students shopping at Walmart and provide dining options at local businesses. We hold some information sessions on what it is like to be a student at Juniata College and introduce them to some of our programs like Language in Motion and the Friendship Family Program. The students then participate in the main orientation with other Juniata students as well as an Inbound Retreat. Once the semester has started, we will hold 3-4 Extended Orientation Sessions on topics like Public Safety/Campus Life Policies, Academic Integrity, and Title IX/Violence Prevention.
Can you briefly describe a handful of campus clubs, events, and/or programs that are designed with international students in mind? Juniata College has so many clubs available for students to join. During fall semester, we have an event called Lobster Fest where students can walk around the quad and visit all of the clubs and sign up for any they have interest in joining. Some of the categories include Advocacy, Art, Club Sports, Communications, Cultural which includes Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Korean, South Asian Student Alliance, and Spanish Clubs, Entertainment & Gaming, Outdoors, Science, Service, and Spiritual.
What is your favorite place on campus and why? My favorite place, that is a tough one! All of campus is so beautiful. I would have to say two places. One, outside of the Library is a beautiful tree and every fall when the leaves change colors it looks amazing. It unfortunately only lasts a day or two then the leaves begin to fall off. My other favorite place would be the Peace Chapel. It is not a far walk from campus and it is usually a place that all Juniata students visit during their time here. It was designed and constructed by Maya Lin in 1988/89. It is a quiet and beautiful location to sit and reflect. There are also many hiking trails near the Peace Chapel.
Please share a positive takeaway or memorable story from your work with Global UGRADs. Juniata College has hosted students for many years. I love the new background and knowledge that the students bring to the campus community as well as their academics. Many of the students from the Global UGRAD Program have participated in our Multicultural Storyfest that is held each spring. They share their traditional garments and may perform a song, dance, or even tell a story from their home culture. I love seeing the students participate in campus activities and sharing their experiences with us.