When international students think of studying in the US, they commonly look for universities in larger states such as New York, Florida or California.
But by expanding their search radius and looking in lesser-known yet thriving states such as Louisiana, they can find schools that provide a diverse environment and support for international students.
One such university is McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which has a strong reputation for developing employable global graduates and granting them the tools for success.
Affordable tuition fees make McNeese a great choice for international students looking for return on investment.
At this university, the curriculum is designed to help students develop the skills needed to become valuable employees, providing plenty of opportunities for them to forge connections with industries.
International students, particularly from countries in West Africa, have found the university incredibly supportive as it facilitates pan-African connections in a unique global environment.
Helping students achieve their career potential
She chanced upon the university when she heard about the location as a central engineering hub and how students can reap the benefits of studying in his location.
She said, “I really did not know anything about McNeese, as a matter of fact I wanted to go to Florida or Massachusetts for some odd reason.
“However, my older brother got an internship at one of the big plants and next thing he told the family about how he had found a good affordable university surrounded by great industries.
“So, his attractions were the cost of living in Lake Charles and the job prospects for engineers, and of course that also became a big attraction to me.”
It turned out to be a great decision as she found the university to be a diverse cultural hub with plenty of opportunities for international students to excel.
There were also lots of practical learning experiences to benefit Mambiri and her peers.
“The professors in chemical engineering have been supportive, they have an open-door policy and whenever you need help with anything, they are never hesitant.
“The real chemical engineering stuff hit hard in senior year when we had to apply everything we had learnt to designing and simulating real processes. This part of the curriculum really helps in giving a feel of what it is like working as an engineer.
“McNeese also has several professional societies that schedule plant tours and bring in motivational speakers from different companies.
“In school we often feel like we are taught irrelevant material, however McNeese has successfully acquainted me with processes which are commonly employed in this area and the company then gives me the savoir-faire.”
She also said that she is still in touch with her professors, after graduation, who offer her assistance when she needs it.
Jean Boue, from the Ivory Coast, is in his fourth semester of studying financial analysis and also commends the university of its efforts in helping students graduate career-ready.
He said, “The first element that attracted me to McNeese State University was affordable tuition and fees and their special scholarship they offer to provide a hand of support for International Students.
“Most Universities require the students to complete at least a semester before receiving any kind of grants or scholarships, but McNeese State University does not demand that.”
He stressed that the university and its highly-ranked programmes contribute strongly in helping students gain employability through practical experience and internships.
“The McNeese State University Business Faculty is ranked among the top ones across the United States which contributes highly and positively to building successful careers of every student graduating from the McNeese College of Business.
“The multiple relational partnerships and sponsorships available at the College of Business is an extreme advantage for the students to obtain an internship and enter into a wonderful career path and a bright future.”
Diverse environment and global exposure
Furthermore, Lake Charles is a diverse and welcoming environment, making it easy for Mambiri to fit in and feel at home, as well as providing exposure to other cultures.
“Lake Charles is quite diverse; on one hand you have all these international students from various parts of the world, and on the other hand, you have Americans from different parts of the US with so many different cultures.
“McNeese feels like a culture hub. This has really opened my mind, in terms of being more understanding and respectful of people’s cultures and beliefs. I
“Instead of focusing on how much I miss home, I find myself gathering different food recipes from many places and sharing “growing-up” stories with parts of the world I never thought I would be exposed to.”
Jean Boue brought up the issues that most – if not all – international students face at some point during their time abroad, including loneliness and culture shock.
“Living far from home always brings up some down moments in the life every international student at a point their studies abroad such as depression, loneliness.
“McNeese State University has a diversified campus with students originated from all around the globe, which helps in the process of dealing with some culture-shock issues.”
For those from West Africa looking to study abroad in a supportive and diverse community with plenty of industry links, McNeese State University is an excellent choice – proven by the success stories of international graduates.