International Students Refelct on UAlbany and America

Published on Dec. 11, 2012

By. Casey So Hyeun Cho

UAlbany Exchange Students

Exchange students at the UAlbany enjoy lunch at the Dutch Quad dining hall and discuss their times spent in America
                   Photo by Casey So Hyeun Cho

UAlbany is keeping “The World Within Reach” for many international and exchange students this holiday season.

With more than 1,000 international students enrolled at UAlbany, the school is often recognized for distinctive qualities as a leading public research university and offering students a broader world view. The number of international students grows each year and about 10 percent of the enrolled international students are exchange students, both undergraduate and graduate.

These students get a first hand experience in American education along with American culture, especially during the holiday season.

“In Korea, Christmas is mostly celebrated by couples, friends, not family. I am going to the New York City [this year] for Christmas. It will be my first Christmas in America. I am excited but I am going to miss everything about UAlbany,” said Minju Kim, from Yonsei University in South Korea.

Patrice Guenther, a German exchange student who is now studying in The Netherlands, was an exchange student in high school. He still keeps in touch with his host family and is planning on vising them this Christmas.

“During my ‘American Christmas’ I particularly liked how the family would spend time together and I was lucky enough to stay with a family that accepted me as a part of theirs,” he said.

Many students are excited to head home and see their families, but for the friends they make at UAlbany it isn’t easy to say goodbye.

“This was my first semester hanging out with exchange students. It was so cool that I got to celebrate their first Halloween in America. We went trick-or-treating for Halloween. I am going to miss them all,” said UAlbany student Steve Sanders.

The success of international students at UAlbany is attributed to International Students & Scholar Service (ISSS) which provides resources for international students such as arranging a week-long orientation for the new incoming international students, providing host family for the Thanksgiving break, and organizing a day trip to other cities such as NYC and Boston.

Every year, the ISSS sponsors a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the international students and UAlbany students and Staff. Also, ISSS arranged host families for 10 exchanged students for this year’s Thanksgiving.

One student was grateful for the staff at ISSS during his transition at UAlbany.

“In Brazilian universities, we only have a few tests, but there are too many assignments to keep up with in the States,” said a Brazilian exchange student Rafael Araujo, “Dorms, new friends, and education, I like UAlbany.”

“I went on a Boston trip with ISSS, overall it was very well-organized and cost efficient,” said Wonji Kim. “The trip helped me how to organize my Thanksgiving trip to the New York City.”

“I think geographically Albany is amazing,” said French exchange student Marie Barr de Saint Venant. “I can go to the New York City and Boston in a few hours and the bus that takes me to those cities stop at Collins Circle.”

UAlbany plays a huge role in representing American education and culture to the incoming exchange students from anywhere in the world. The UAlbany community and students may support the incoming international students for spring semester reaching out and volunteering as an international buddy or a host family for the beginning of the semester.