International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) hosts welcome reception for international students


Flyer for the ISSO welcome reception.

Rachel Yim, Science & Technology Reporter

Oakland University’s kick-off to a new school year involves a variety of events. This includes the annual international welcome reception welcoming its new international students from across the world.

“Just seeing familiar and new faces, I love seeing students when they first arrive on campus not knowing much about life here, having so many questions and being so excited and curious,” Petra Knoche, International Advisor with ISSO, said. “I love listening to their stories and being able to help them throughout this difficult and complex process of coming to the U.S. to study.”

After 18 months of virtual activities and events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ISSO staff and students are excited to get back in the “normal” swing of life and get to know each other in-person.

“This is always a very exciting time of the year for me and others as we welcome new students to campus,” she said. “We are excited to serve them and help guide them in their unique and hopefully successful journey here at OU.”

Pandemic travel restrictions have prevented international students from coming to the U.S. or traveling back to their home country. As the new school year approaches and international students are welcomed back to campus, it is also important to point out that it  will allow domestic students to share different life perspectives and friendships, and learn to appreciate different cultures and traditions.

Knoche herself once was an international student from the Czech Republic. Being a student in a foreign country, she was able to have many wonderful people to help navigate the new life and its challenges as a student-athlete in the USA. This allowed her to grow passion in her job within ISSO.

“I enjoy creating meaningful events that help to promote diversity on campus and create interactions among domestic and international students, faculty and staff,” Knoche said. “There is so much to learn from our international guests as well as so much to learn about life in the U.S.”

In collaboration with the Office of Global Engagement, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the President and the Office for Student Involvement, ISSO made sure the event is successful and inclusive of all international students.

“We all value the different perspectives our international population  brings not only to campus life but also in the classroom and community,” Knoche said.

Dr. Britt Rios-Ellis, Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost, and Dr. Rosemary Max, Executive Director of International Education, will be providing remarks and welcome newly arrived students, faculty and staff to the OU community. Mark Stone, Associate Professor of Music, will be providing music throughout the event.

Highlighting the different perspectives the OU international population brings to campus life, classrooms and community, this event will be a great opportunity for many people to learn and socialize.

This year’s welcome reception will be from 3-5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 3 between Elliott Tower and the Engineering Center. As this event is open for all OU community members, anyone interested in participating or attending can reserve their spots by visiting

Besides the welcome reception, OU offers a plethora of opportunities for international friendships. Students can find more information on GrizzOrgs.