Virtual events connect Missouri Western students around the world

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by Sarah Thomack

St. Joseph Post

As Missouri Western State University students are spread out around the world, they still find ways to learn, connect and cook with each other.

Students joined in on a virtual event this past week using Zoom, a video conference program, and there were students representing Nigeria, India, Australia, Sweden and more.

Fumi Matsumoto Cheever is the Director of International Student Services at Missouri Western’s Global Center. Cheever says there are so many more ways now to connect with family and friends as an international student.

“I was an international student 20 years ago. Only way to communicate with family was by phone, but that’s not the case these days,” Cheever says. “We have so many different way to share the experience and communicate (with) each other.”

Cheever says out of the 62 international Missouri Western students, about 25 to 30 stayed in town and the rest traveled to be with family after Missouri Western announced classes would be online for the rest of the semester. Cheever says some students had to make quick decisions as some countries were closing their borders.

“It was very challenging… Packing everything and bringing everything with them or leaving something behind waiting for them to come back in the fall semester,” Cheever says. “Some community members offered some help so… if (students) could not keep their belongings on campus housing, they offered some space for them to keep their boxes until they come back.”

In meeting with students virtually, Cheever says they discussed how they are all busy with homework and what they’re doing in their spare time. Cheever says since many of them talked about enjoying cooking while in quarantine, she’s thinking about hosting a virtual cooking event.

“We do something like that on campus… a student from a different country teaches us how to cook some homemade dish,” Cheever says. “The Korean students were planning to teach us how to make Korean sushi… but it didn’t happen this semester so maybe we can move to Zoom so students can film it or can make it so we can watch and (they can) share it with us too.”

For more information about the Global Center and their virtual events open to the public, visit Missouri Western’s website.