By Alexis Garcia
When international students come to college, they leave their family, home and lifestyle.
Trevecca has 56 undergraduate international students who represent 17 countries this semester.
When international students come to study at Trevecca, it is mandatory for students to check in with Maria Petty, coordinator of international students, to get a chance to know each other to build a relationship.
“People of different cultural backgrounds can bring so much value to our campus,” said Petty. “Our international students are diverse students of different faiths who might be the only cultural group of people they will see especially if they cannot study abroad or travel.”
These students face specific challenges in adjusting to campus life, Petty said.
Two major problems most international students face is homesickness and transportation.
“During small breaks, homesickness can be a problem because I can’t visit home,” said Marlena Ngonyamo, junior social justice major. “For example, I have not been home since summer 2017.
Transportation is one of the most prominent problems international students face because they can’t just go to the store whenever they want.
Without transportation, it is hard for Ngonyamo to make her meals because she lives in the apartments. Petty tries to help international students with grocery shopping by taking them to Walmart before breaks and monthly trips.
“It is good especially for me because I live in the apartments. I rarely eat in the cafe, so I have to cook my own meals,” said Ngonyamo. “So it is really good she takes us, since I do not drive.”
Although Ngonyamo loves the food back home, she tries to mimic her favorite dishes at home.
“Even when I try to buy the ingredients to make it here, it is not the same,” said Ngonyamo. “It doesn’t taste the same either, but I try to make it as close as possible.”
Although transportation and homesickness might be a problem for students, there are also positives.
According to Yarida Urbina Espinoza, a senior biology major said making friends has been easy for her because of her group of friends from Honduras.
“Considering that I came along with some of my friends from high school it wasn’t hard making friends along with their circle of friends,” said Espinoza. “It hasn’t been hard for me because Spanish is my language. It’s a popular language here.”
According to Ngonyamo, since there are many international students at Trevecca, she can relate to them.
Having more international students can benefit Trevecca students because it gives them an awareness of others.
“Any place needs diversity to get different perspectives from different countries because all the countries have different stories and different things that we want to bring out,” said Espinoza. “I think Trevecca is growing up in the diversity aspect and should be encourage for the future.”
Petty not only wants international students’ population to grow, she wants more students to get involve to feel included.
“If an international student wants to put on an event, I will do what I can [for him/her] to create more community,” said Petty. “I would love more students to be more involved or just come talk to me.”