First Impressions from Global UGRAD 2022-2023 Fall Students

We reached out to Global UGRAD students who are getting settled in on their new host campuses to learn about their first impressions. Please read through some of the amazing responses we received to get an idea of what is standing out to our students across the United States!

Representing Thailand, Ratchanon Samosungnoen has a lot to say about Georgia College and State University and the surrounding environment in the southeast:

“I would say that when I initially arrived, I got the impression that everyone was kind and friendly. After getting lost while wandering about the campus a few times, I encountered a man on the street who helped me find my way back to my dorm. In addition, even though Milledgeville is a small town, there are plenty of green places to be found everywhere. Another aspect of my host university that I appreciate is the effective provision of all facilities to all students.

The fact that so many individuals came from all parts of the world surprised me the most. I occasionally find it challenging to understand the students in my classes. However, I am learning from this diversity.”

Nearby in Florida, Bergeline Jean Glaude (Haiti) has begun her studies at Florida Gulf Coast University. She shares her perspective about adjusting to her classes and trying new things!

“It has been 13 days since my arrival in the United States and I am loving it. It is no different than what I expected so there has been no culture shock until now. People in Florida are really polite and welcoming. I spend a lot of time with the other UGRADs and we are learning about each other: personal background, culture etc. My classes are absolutely wonderful. The only inconvenience I encountered is that, here the professors are really technology-oriented which was not necessarily the case back [home,] however I am adjusting. Also for the first time in my life, this week I have been Kayaking and ice skating, which was awesome. I am looking forward to make even more interesting experiences and to meet new people.”

 In the northeast, Dunali Wanasinghe (Sri Lanka) is studying at Utica University and shares about the strong bonds developing amongst the UGRADs and international students there:

Group of students stand together smiling for the camera in a bowling alley
Dunali Wanasinghe enjoys bowling with new international student friends from Utica University

“My first impression of my campus is all positive! …The staff and students on campus are extremely kind and supportive. When we see them, we are always greeted with ‘Hello! Hope you have a nice day!’. Everyone on campus goes out of their way to help us if we need anything. As international students, we feel like we belong here on campus because of it. 

We have around 8-9 other international students living on campus (Some UGRADERs too) and all of them are very interesting and generous. They are super lovely to talk to.

We all bonded very well after going bowling yesterday.

Overall, things could not have been better! I’m enjoying my experience very much here.” 

Bassel Attia (Egypt) at Boise State University shares his experiences from across the country in the northwestern state of Idaho:

“Regarding my first impression of campus, I am impressed and that’s the least I can say. Although my town, Boise, is a small town, its community makes it radically different! I mean, everyone here is so friendly that you can literally open a conversation with anyone even if you do not know them, and I [do] that a lot, and I quite enjoy it. The only drawback is that the campus is huge which makes it difficult to get to different buildings in time, especially [since] there is no reliable public transportation system here in Boise. Otherwise, everything here is great!”

Finally, reporting from their new home bases in the Midwest, we heard from Aeryna Sritharan (Malaysia) at Kansas State University and Dordje Milosevic (Serbia) at St. Ambrose University in Iowa:

“When I walked into the campus the first thing I noticed was the perfect blending between old limestone buildings and the new modern ones. The campus is beautiful and the people here are kind, welcoming, and just the best. I was surprised by country music and how some people wore cowboy boots although we were in the midwest. My favorite thing about my campus is the dining center. It has a variety of choices from western to Asian.”

“Last week my courses started. I loved my teachers, they were so energetic, helpful, and genuine. I also met many new classmates; some have already offered to help me with my transition from Serbia by showing me what the homework and essays should look like. During the weekend, my suitemates had a football game, so I went there with a couple of friends. They won both games, so we celebrated after.”


The full Global UGRAD cohort will be in the U.S. by the end of the week and will add to these great stories about initial impressions and adventures on their host campuses and in their new communities. The semester is just getting started and we’re looking forward to seeing what it brings for this new group!