YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – YSU is welcoming a record number of international students this year — 300. Previously, there were about 200 students from abroad studying at YSU. First News spoke with one of the people who helped grow the program to bring more students to the Valley about why this program is important and what kinds of obstacles international students face.

Overall, YSU expects 593 international students on campus this fall — the most ever.

According to Nate Myers, associate provost of international initiatives at YSU, the international program is a great opportunity for all students.

“We’re set to welcome over 300 international students to campus and those students come from 39 different countries,” said Myers.

Those students speak a variety of languages and come from an assortment of different religious and social backgrounds.

“An opportunity for diversity and for education, and that’s something we can’t replicate here locally,” said Myers.

However, international students are less likely to have a car to drive making getting some essentials more difficult.

“The center of Youngstown is a food desert, and so that makes transportation very, very important,” said Myers.

Fortunately, WRTA has free bus fair.

“Constantly running shuttles basically to the Walmart in Liberty in service of our student population…With WRTA international students are, you know, important segment of who they service,” said Myers.

Myers said attracting international students to the Valley is good not just for scholars who travel from overseas but for the local population too.

“The ability for domestic students locally to study alongside the international students is one of those intangible, yet important, developmental opportunities, because as we know, once we graduate from here, the world is a huge place, and if we only know how to work with the people that we know how to work with, then we’re limited,” said Myers.

Myers also said their office has someone to help international students from day one all the way up until graduation and even beyond if they want to stay in the area and work.

The first day of classes is Aug. 29.