Newcomers: Troy hosts reception, tour for Troy University international students
Published 4:00 am Friday, August 7, 2015
Brazilian Katia Los Angeles N. Bezerra laughingly said she was a “smuggler” who found a way to come to Alabama with her daughter, Emanuele Los Angeles N. Bezerra. She was joking of course, but she is happy to be in Troy with her daughter.
Emanuele is one of 90 international students who attended the reception for new international students hosted by the City of Troy Thursday afternoon at The Studio in Downtown Troy.
Katia will return to Sao Paulo, Brazil next week, but she will leave knowing that Emanuele is at a “wonderful place.”
Katia said she has been to the United States four times before but never to the Deep South.
“Wow! We are loving it,” Katia said. “The South is so different from other places. People are so kind, so friendly and warm. We feel at home here.”
Emanuele said she, too, has found Alabama and Troy to be a wonderful place to be.
“I was in Orlando, Fla. at the park and other places,” she said. “There, they don’t care for you so you can just go away. Here in Troy, people take time with you. I am happy here.”
Troy Mayor Jason A. Reeves spoke to the international students and expressed his desire that they, too, will be happy in Troy.
“We are so excited that you are here,” he said. “The international program has grown so that there are about a thousand students from all over the globe enrolled at Troy University.
“Having international students in our community brings culture and economic development to Troy. I don’t know of any city the size of Troy that could boast of an international population of one thousand. It is important to us that you feel welcome here. If there is anything that you need, just let us know.”
Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr. said, when he came to Troy University in 1989, only 40 international students were enrolled.
“Today, we have nearly 1,000 international students representing 80 countries enrolled,” he said. “On any given day, you could hear 100 different languages being spoken on campus. Troy is one of the most diverse cities in Alabama and was recently voted one of the 50 best college towns in America.”
Hawkins encouraged the international students to be involved with the student organizations on campus in order to make the best use of their time and investment.
“We have 130 student organizations – theater, music, athletics – so we get out of our comfort zones and become involved,” he said.
The chancellor said Troy University’s goal is for its graduates to be globally competitive and, therefore, add value to their lives and careers. He also emphasized the importance of building relationships.
“In the end, life is all about relationships,” Hawkins said.
Shelia Jackson, Troy Public Relations director, said the city looks forward each year to hosting the reception for the international students.
“We want to welcome the international students to Troy and make them aware of all Troy has to offer,” she said. “Following the reception and a tour of the Johnson Center, we took the students on a tour our downtown area including city hall and The Square. For a year or more, these students will be a part of our community, and we want them to know we are happy to have them here and are available to assist them with any needs they might have.”
Peter Lundbye, director of international recruitment at Troy University, said the number of international students for the fall semester is uncertain until all the students arrive.
“We are still picking them up at the airport, but we expect the number to be around 1,000,” he said.
Lundbye expressed appreciation to the City of Troy for hosting the reception and downtown tour, which is a good way to introduce the students to the city.
He said the university’s Reach Out program is a way for the students from abroad to learn first-hand about the American and Southern cultures.
“Some Troy families become host families and invite international students into their homes and also plan activities for them,” he said.
Anyone who would like to host an international student may contact Megan Simon, student advisor, at Troy University or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.