In a country inhabited by people of all
Auburn University, which had a total
Thanks to the Auburn Global program and its more specialized International Accelerator Program, Auburn has raised its number of
The numbers reflect how the University
is improving in enrollment of people from other countries, but it is the impressions
of the students themselves, their thoughts on campus and their overall take on life at Auburn that defines what life is truly like for an
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
“When I got here it was very different from what I was expecting,” said
Originally from New Delhi, India, Singh came to Auburn because of its rank as the third-best industrial design school in the
Singh started Auburn as a freshman in 2015 with Auburn Global. He said the program made the transition to American academic life easy and the only challenge came when
“It’s an old town and not a lot of people know about other religions,” Singh said. “They kind of just want to stay in their own thing, which is of course not bad, but creates a kind of
Besides religion, Singh reports enjoying his time as a student at Auburn and says he felt as welcome as any other student.
His sentiments were shared by Jude Abu Musallam, a third-year civil engineering
“I originally wanted to study architecture, and Auburn has one of the top programs in the nation,” Musallam said. “I had visited the campus and had really, really liked it; at first it was kind of weird like I was on a vacation or something, but after a
She said the transition to life as an American student was challenging at first.
“At first it was really hard, I did not know what was going on because I was so
Thanks to the University, however, she quickly fell into place as a student.
“Auburn Global was such a big help in
Making Auburn feel like a “
Morgan Gaston, 2017’s recipient of the
“I had the opportunity to go to China last year, and when I was there, I got to
Gaston’s plan is to better equip the international student organizations of Auburn University to prepare the incoming students for life at Auburn.
Her involvement with China was relevant to Auburn’s international programs, as Chinese students made up over half of all enrolled international students in 2017.
Another program that helps students adapt to life at the university is Auburn’s International Student Organization.
The president of the International Student Organization, Mingyu Zhao, is originally from Beijing, China. Zhao originally came to Auburn in 2015 with Auburn Global and now studies chemistry on the pre-dentistry track.
“Auburn Global had prepared an orientation; in those orientations, they have people called Global Guides which kind of lead you through and lots of them are higher level students,” Zhao said. “With their help, I felt really welcome, I could ask whatever questions I had to them and they would explain everything to me. It was really nice.”
Coming from a metropolis like Beijing, Auburn was quite the culture shock to Zhao, but in a positive way.
“At first I wasn’t really familiar with this
small town life,” she said. “Everything is slow and you don’t have to rush. Especially when I was living at the Hub, I had neighbors who didn’t even know me but they would still say ‘Hi’. That would never happen in big cities ... over here it is really friendly.”
Zhao said she is glad to be so involved with the University and a part of the Auburn Family as a whole.
“When I wear my Auburn shirt, even when I went to Florida or Las Vegas when someone yells at me ‘War Eagle’ I ‘War Eagle’ back and that really feels nice.”
Although it seems a majority of international students who go through the Auburn Global program have positive experiences, coming to Auburn can pose quite a challenge.
“The biggest obstacle that I have is trying to pay for my education,” said Rodrigo Carvalhedo, an Auburn student originally from Brazil. “I got a scholarship, but it’s just for the first year, so I have to work hard to find ways to pay for my education. There are a lot of opportunities that are only available to US citizens, so I am looking for ones I can get.”
Carvalhedo is pursuing a graphic design major, his second college degree.
He said while finding ways to pay for college may be tough, coming to America for school has been more positive than negative.
“It was an adventure in some sort of way, but I was not intimidated by it, I enjoyed it,” he said. “I wanted to come and I knew I would go through this so instead of like complaining and focusing on the bad side of it all I went with it and tried to do the best that I could with it.”
Carvalhedo said the biggest challenge in America is finding food that resembles Brazilian cuisine.
“One thing I struggled with was names for ingredients,” Carvalhedo said. “It’s such a specific thing, like parsley or basil or something like that, so I kind of had to Google translate them all and go to Walmart and try to find them. One thing I have struggled with is trying to find natural juices, I don’t quite like sugary things and you guys have a lot of sugary things here.”
As Auburn University continues to recruit more students from around the world, it seems as though the ones already here are enjoying their time.
With their steadily increasing international enrollment rates, it appears Auburn is truly working on becoming global.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman