BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO)– New international students have arrived on the South Dakota State University campus.

SDSU has a strong community of international students, representing about 80 different countries.
This week, they welcomed a new group and are working to help them prepare for life here.

For Mark Mujuni Kalyegira, it was about coming to a state where he knew someone.

“Looking for universities that we knew people in, like the state, so we knew people in like Florida, New York, California and South Dakota, but those other states international tuition is really expensive, so this was a very affordable option for us.” Kalyegira said.

He moved here from Uganda just a few weeks ago.

“‘I’m a bit nervous but also excited, like I want to see what the American system is like, I studied the British system in Uganda so I’m learning how the American college climate works.” Kalyegira said.

The orientation is designed to help students prepare for life in the U.S. as well as meet some new friends.

“So really over those days we really try to prepare them to transition well, get them ready for classes that begin the following week, but then that’s just part of it is also really getting to know our staff, getting to know other students from other countries and really kind of getting feeling comfortable with the environment rather than arriving and immediately sitting in a classroom.” Greg Wymer, director of international students and scholars said.

It’s an exciting time for students who are ready to enter this journey in a new place and create new friendships.

Like Anandu who is a PhD student from India.

“So for 26 years I’ve been living in my country so mostly I would be meeting other Indians so I wanted to go out, explore the world, experience different culture, meet new people, try their cuisine so being here this is what I wanted in life is to meet people of different culture.” Anandu said.

SDSU has experienced an increase in international student applications over the past few semesters. However, the pandemic has created some issues in getting those students to campus. Including this class, there will be over 600 international students enrolled at the university.