FSU’s Educational Pathways for International Centers and Students (EPICS) Program

Emma Delk, Staff Reporter

Fairmont State has multiple programs to assist international students in adjusting to life in the United States and West Virginia, specifically. One of these is the Educational Pathways for International Centers and Students (EPICS). EPICS programs are present in universities throughout the country, and Fairmont State’s goal as an EPICS program is to guide international students through the customs, responsibilities, and privileges of being a student.  

The experience of international students at Fairmont State University compared to national students is different in many ways. These differences begin at admissions, which is an even more complicated process for international students, that includes applying for visas to having an Official English proficiency score, which evaluates how well an international student can speak English. The experience of international students at Fairmont State also differs greatly once the student is enrolled at Fairmont State. International students may need to learn about the customs and responsibilities that come from simply being in a completely different culture from the one they came from. The degree of culture shock an international student experiences, of course, depends on how different their native country is from the one that they are studying. There will always be cultural differences no matter how great the differences between the countries, though, from currency to simply the pace of life. The EPICS program wants to help international students adjust to these differences, while also bringing awareness to the opportunities that are available to international students 

These opportunities for international students include events that allow them to share their unique cultures with students at Fairmont State. The EPICS program at Fairmont State has organized multiple events to do this. In 2018, the program set up information tables in the Falcon Center on Monday and Tuesday afternoons during International Education Week to allow international students to share aspects about their culture, such as food and styles of dress, to the other students at Fairmont State. 

“Whether it’s studying abroad, international exchanges or just curriculum that focuses on international components, we wanted to participate and help recognize, celebrate international education.” said Amanda Stinemetz, the director of the EPICS program, when asked about the event. 

Though it is currently difficult to organize public events for international students, such as the information tables, the EPICS program is still working at Fairmont State to assist and promote international students and studies. To contact or visit, the EPICS office is in Turley Center 311 and their phone number is (304) 367-4490.