We are proud to feature our long-standing host institution partner, Troy University. Jamie Deanna Sessions, an International Student Advisor who works directly with Global UGRAD participants, shares how Troy University promotes international connections on campus.
1. What does your orientation for international students involve?
Our International Student Orientation involves welcoming our incoming students to Troy University and giving them the knowledge to succeed during their time here. At orientation, we discuss immigration compliance and adjustment to an American classroom. Our goal is to provide an initial atmosphere that makes our students feel comfortable enough to ask any questions they may have while also guiding them through barriers such as language, culture shock, and homesickness. We want all students to know that our office is always open and we look forward to assisting them in any way, even if it they just need to talk. Additionally, we provide a campus tour, schedule academic advising, and class registration assistance.
2. Can you briefly describe a handful of campus clubs, events, and/or programs that are designed with international students in mind?
We have several international organizations that are organized with international students in mind. These include organizations to celebrate specific cultures/countries (Vietnamese Student Association, Indian Student Association, Troy African Student Association, Chinese Student and Scholar Association, etc.), as well as ISCO (International Student and Cultural Organization). ISCO is especially unique in that it brings together students from all over the world to learn about different cultures and traditions. Additionally, we have a program that pairs new international students with an American student so that they have someone to help them adjust to the United States. We also offer several events such as tailgates, short trips around Alabama, and a national trip each semester.
3. What is your favorite place on campus and why?
My favorite place on campus is the John Robert Lewis Quad. It is such a beautiful location on campus and one where there is always plenty of student activity. Whether students are studying on a blanket in the grass or playing ultimate frisbee, there is always a great feeling of energy and comradery here. I love walking through and getting to run into students and colleagues I have not seen in a while. It is a great place for students and faculty/staff to interact in a more relaxed atmosphere.
4. Please share a positive takeaway or memorable story from your work with Global UGRADs.
I always look forward to working with our Global UGRAD students, but my favorite part about this group is how involved they are on campus and in the community. The positive mindset they maintain their whole stay is so admirable. No matter where they go, everyone knows who they are and looks forward to seeing them. I have worked with plenty of different groups of students and these are, by far, some of the most excited to be here and participate in activities from all different cultures. Last year, we had a couple of students perform traditional dances in our annual ISCO festival, which was so neat. We normally don’t have any other students from the countries we receive so it always so exciting to see what they have to share and how eager they are to help others learn about their culture. They are a joy to work with and I’m excited to welcome new students in fall 2021.