Posted: September 28, 2017 at 1:02 am

By Rachel Teter and Megan Bsharah

WVU’s international students can now choose to live among domestic students with a new, dedicated floor at Summit Hall.

Previously, the International House, affectionately called the “I House,” used to give students a way to share their respective cultures and cuisines with other international students.

Kristopher Bennett, assistant director for student services with the International Students and Scholars Services, said sometimes things just have to change.

“Our focus is to try and get more domestic and international students engaging together,” Bennett said. “That tends to lead to much better student success.”

According to Bennett, plans are in the works to expand to more floors in Summit Hall for international students or perhaps to build a house similar to the I House.

“Our goal is to try and increase what we have,” Bennett said.

In order to expand the floors in Summit, students who are interested in living with international students have to volunteer to be a part of the program.

Fall 2017 is the first semester that the three-story brick building is no longer in use. The I House, which was converted from an old fraternity house long ago, now sits vacant on Spruce Street.

Bennett says living in residence halls is a fantastic experience. Students can utilize Summit’s dining hall and continue to exchange their cultures and cuisines with others.

Former student, Oche Oche-Obe, chose to live in a residence hall his freshman year in order to meet people on his own.

“I wanted to get the experience of living with and getting to know people firsthand and not always within some international program,” Oche-Obe said.

Unlike Oche-Obe, Emil Thiim Berner Hansen chose against University housing. His experience with finding a home was challenging.

Emil did not have a place to stay when he arrived in Morgantown after a long flight from Denmark.

“The thing is, as an international student, you’re only doing short-term lease,” Hansen said. “And it’s like almost impossible.”

Hansen contacted University apartment buildings, and they were not offering short-term leases. After a hectic first week, Hansen found a place to stay on Grant Avenue.

International students must learn to adapt to their new world, and what they take from their experiences is personal.

“The knowledge I’ve gained from WVU and my time as an international student are priceless,” Oche-Obe said.