Troy tourism hosts luncheon

Published 8:01 pm Monday, August 9, 2010

One hundred and forty Troy University international students got a “taste of Troy” Sunday.

The students were invited to a luncheon hosted by the City of Troy Tourism Department at The Studio in downtown Troy and then toured the “Looking Through the Lens” photography exhibition at the Johnson Center for the Arts.

Catherine Jordan, tourism administrative assistant, said the luncheon was an opportunity for the international students to visit the downtown area and enjoy the fellowship inherent in an informal luncheon.

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“We want the international students to feel welcome because Troy will be their home for at least a year, some of them two or more years,” Jordan said. “Downtown Troy has a lot of offer and we wanted them to know what’s here and available to them.”

Some of the students had been in Troy only four days and others will come this week. The total number of international students will not be known until all of the students have arrived.

Ye Ri Kim, Eunsun Park and Beltyeom Koo attended the same university in Korea and are finding their friendship a barrier against homesickness in the early days so far from home.

“We’ve been here too few days for homesickness,” Park said. “But it’s so hot here. So hot.”

The students laughed and stirred the air with a flutter of their hands.

“We like it here,” Koo said. “It is peaceful and people are so kind.”

Five French students said they, too, are finding Troy to be friendly but hot.

“Winter comes how soon?” they asked laughing.

Although all of the international students speak English, they admitted that the Southern dialect is different from what they learned in school.

Mohammad Alashri has been at Troy University for more than a year and he speaks the American dialect but said he has not yet picked up the Southern dialect of his Alabama classmates.

“For me, Troy is small,” he said.

“I am from Saudi Arabia and a big city. Some of the international students come here and are disappointed that there is not much entertainment, not like in big cities. But then there are some who like the quiet and peacefulness of a small town.”

Alashri said the international students come wanting to immerse themselves in the American culture and language.

“I think many of them would like to have a host family,” he said. “That would give them the opportunity to understand the culture better and learn the language. It would also give them a ‘home’ here because they can’t go home often to visit. Some of them will be here a year before going home. For now, Troy is their home.”