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On the road

Opportunities abound for ONU international students to see American culture outside of Ada.

Apart from the exceptional education that American colleges and universities provide to students from every corner of the world, opportunities for these students to explore American culture can be a draw for institutions like Ohio Northern University, where the Office of International Admissions is actively programming for precisely these kinds of experiences.

“I think Ohio, and specifically where we are in Ohio, is a great location to get us just about anywhere we want to be,” said Dede Shine, director of international admissions at ONU. “And this is what we tell students that are looking at coming to our university.”

Day and weekend trips, which give international students a different perspective on American life, are common. One recent trip to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mi., provided students with a quintessentially American experience.

“One of my favorite things to do is to grab the students and say ‘I want to show you a couple muscle cars. Do you know what a muscle car is?’” said Shine.

America’s obsession with the automobile is never more evident that at the annual auto show, the largest of its kind in the world. This year marked ONU’s sixth trip to Detroit, and the second or third for many students in attendance.

For Shine, the trip is more than just an interesting trade show excursion. It is a truly global event that appeals to international students on many levels.

“It’s neat to see how proud the students are of the cars from their countries. And they share that with us,” she said, “So the students from South Korea want to show us the Hyundais and maybe the students from Japan focus on the Toyotas, Hondas and Nissans.”

This trip is also personal for Shine. “I’m a Detroiter, so I guess it comes from my understanding of what Motown’s position was in the world,” Shine said, “A lot of people around the world have heard of Detroit.”

Trips like this one are great opportunities for students to experience life outside of an academic setting. ONU is fortunate to have so many interesting attractions nearby with The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cedar Point, Wright Brothers Studios in Dayton, the Neil Armstrong and Thomas Edison museums, and many large cities.

“It’s something that we cannot really learn from the classroom, but [when we] actually see the culture, we can understand,” said Kandai Doi, a senior biology major from Kanagawa, Japan.

Some of the other trips recently offered by the international admissions office have been to the Cincinnati Aquarium, Columbus Zoo, skiing and snowboarding at Mad River Mountain. Trips to professional sporting events like baseball, basketball and hockey games are also popular with international students, especially when a team member is from their home country, as was the case last year when ONU students from Finland attended a National Hockey League game featuring Finnish players.

“There is no shortage of things for us to choose from,” Shine stated, “We just have to make an effort to get students there.”

—Lyndsey Robison
Wooster, Ohio