We are excited to highlight our host partner, East Tennessee State University (ETSU), this month! Hopelyn Mooney is currently Prestigious Awards and Education Abroad Coordinator for incoming visiting international students (J-1’s), outgoing study abroad students, and faculty leading programs abroad. Hopelyn will be providing insight into life on campus for international students at ETSU.
What does your orientation for international students involve?
We have many orientation-like opportunities to help international students adjust to life at ETSU. First is what we call a “check-in presentation” from the International Programs office. This is where students show their passport and visa, and learn about any immigration policies. Next, we have campus tours and an Open House event. This is where students learn how to set up a phone plan, banking account, shop for groceries, and other essentials. ETSU also offers orientation programs for new students to learn about campus resources. There are plenty of opportunities, and we welcome you to them all!
Can you briefly describe a handful of campus clubs, events, and/or programs that are designed with international students in mind?
International Buccaneer Buddies: this is a fantastic program! The program promotes friendship and international understanding. International students who apply to IBB are paired with an ETSU volunteer student buddy who will assist in adjusting to life here at ETSU and in the USA. They also have IBB trips and activities throughout the year, allowing students to meet and befriend other international and American students. We offer a lot of other opportunities, such as Alternative Breaks, Black Affairs Association, Leadership & Civic Engagement, Multicultural Center, and Sexuality and Gender Alliance. The full list is available here.
What is your favorite place on campus and why?
I love our outdoor fitness path! It is so beautiful on sunny days and puts my mind at peace. The path goes around our Center for Physical Activity (our indoor/outdoor gym that all students have access to at no additional cost), the ETSU soccer stadium, football stadium, tennis courts, and outdoor obstacle course. I also love to watch the men’s and women’s soccer games! ETSU also has another hiking trail in the woods behind campus.
Please share a takeaway or memorable story from your work with Global UGRADs.
I adore all our students; it is hard to choose just one story! I will never forget Ezzi from Mauritania. She had the kindest, sweetest personality and really adjusted well to the United States. She had a fun adventure looking for a blender at Walmart and online, via Amazon, to send to her aunt at home. Then her mom wanted a blender, too. Her suitcase must have been so heavy! I am so fortunate to work in a place where I can get to know students from all over the globe. Thank you, World Learning, for all the good memories in the past, present, and soon to come!