Partner Feature: Kansas State University

Wendy Matthews: Assistant Director for Special Programs and Sponsored Students at Kansas State University

This month we are excited to highlight our host partner, Kansas State University (K-State for short). Wendy Matthews has worked at Kansas State on and off since 1983 but has spent the last nine years in the Special Programs/Sponsored Students branch of the Office of International Programs. Here, Wendy shares more about what international students at K-State can expect.

What does your orientation for international students involve? 

K-State International Student and Scholar Services provide a comprehensive orientation for international students.  In addition, I meet with students to learn of their personal hopes and help them find clubs and community service opportunities to help them achieve their goals. For fun, I also collect and give them items they will need during their semester such as coats, winter clothes, hair dryer or clothes iron, laundry basket and so on!

Can you briefly describe a handful of campus clubs, events, and/or programs that are designed with international students in mind?

Global UGRAD students on a snowy day at Kansas State

K-State has about 500 student organizations and clubs available to all international students. Among them students can participate in International Buddies, which pairs American students and community members with international students for fun activities and cultural exchange. The International Coordinating Council helps international students work together to promote cultural understanding. A popular local organization “Helping International Students” has many and varied activities and events for K-State’s students such as weekly conversations, field trips, and meeting of practical needs.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

The K-State campus is so beautiful!  I love our big Hale Library – where generations of my family studied for their degrees. I love the bustle of the K-State Union, where students from all disciplines and walks of life meet for coffee and the shared campus experience. I love the labs where students are doing what they are learning. But my favorite place on campus is my little office, where I meet with students to learn of their dreams, guide them through their struggles, watch them learn about themselves, and celebrate their accomplishments.

Global UGRAD students at K-State meet an American icon – the bison!

Please share a positive takeaway or memorable story from your work with Global UGRADs.

Working with Global UGRADs is the ‘spice’ of my job. Their one semester experience is action packed!  I had a dear student come out to my house once, where my daughter had an older convertible car. My student was so excited, that we put the top down, and she took a bunch of pictures of her in and on that car!  Another time, I took some Global UGRADs to a nearby bison ranch for a wagon ride out to feed the bison. I learn so much about other ways of life from my Global UGRADs, and I know they are having that same impact on the students they live with in our residence halls!