Students tour downtown

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Troy University international students tour the Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy, Ala., Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

Barbara Maingon and Alexandria Kardas sat in The Studio Wednesday afternoon nibbling on cupcakes and soaking in the Southern hospitality that is all new to them. Having been in Troy only five days, the Troy University international students were finding that the South will be a good place to call home for the next two years.

Although Alabama’s not France, it’s the next best thing and the young women said that Troy University is the best place for them to pursue their master’s degrees in international relations.

Maingon and Kardas were among more than 100 new Troy University international students that were treated to an afternoon on the town Wednesday by the City of Troy.

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Some of the students had been in Troy for five days while others had arrived only a couple of hours earlier.

The students were welcomed to Troy by Mayor Jimmy Lunsford, Public Relations Director Shelia Jackson and Administrative Assistant Catherine Jordan at a reception in their honor at The Studio in downtown Troy.

Lunsford laughingly told the students that they had learned English and now they could learn “our language.”

“We are proud to have you in Troy and at Troy University,” he said on a more serious note. “This will be a tremendous learning experience for all of you and an opportunity for our university students and our citizens to interact with you. We want to learn from you as you learn from us.”

The international students visited the Johnson Center for the Arts and found the art to be interesting and fun.

Yutian Xiang was one of the many students who took advantage of the opportunity to photograph Alabama art and to express their thoughts on the exhibition by Alabama artists. He used his hands to make a heart figure, which he said represents friendship and the love of a new place to live and learn.

Marie Frigge, international student advisor, said international students continue to arrive in Troy and the number of international students will reach about 200 when all students are on campus.

“The international students on the Troy University campus will represent between 55 and 60 countries,” Frigge said. “We had orientation on Monday and they will register and be ready to start classes next week. We try to make the adjustment as easy as possible.”

On Saturday, the international students will have an opportunity to take a trip to the beach and do some shopping at the outlet malls in Destin.

There will be a mentor program available to the students and Frigge said plans are to re-introduce the international friends program.

“The international students appreciate opportunities to be a part of our culture,” she said. “We want to encourage families to invite the students into their homes, maybe on the weekend or holidays, or to take them on a day trip or to a ballgame. That way our international students will feel like a part of the community and learn more about our culture as we learn more about theirs.”

Those who would like to participate in the international friends program are encouraged to call Frigge at 808-6146.