With the outside temperature hovering in the single digits Tuesday morning, SUNY Fredonia extended a warm welcome to dozens of new international students who have arrived on campus for the spring term at a welcoming ceremony at Rosch Recital Hall.
Numerous flags representing the homelands of all 235 of SUNY Fredonia's international students, both undergraduate and graduate, were displayed above the stage. International enrollment has grown by over 60 students compared to the fall 2012 term, with seven nations represented among this newest class, including China, India, Jamaica, Japan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.
The students were first welcomed by SUNY Fredonia President Virginia Schaefer Horvath, who said how excited the campus community was to have them among the student body. She also encouraged them to ask questions and help Fredonia's American students better understand their cultures and traditions.
The newest group of international students at SUNY Fredonia gathered with campus administrators following Tuesday’s welcoming ceremony in Rosch Recital Hall.
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kevin Kearns commented on the bravery they have shown in accepting such an opportunity to live in and learn from a culture that is so very different and far away from their own.
Coordinator of International Learning Ted Schwalbe, a professor in the department of Communication, reminded them that they may be the very first people from their respective countries with whom some area residents have encountered - a significant responsibility which they bear.
Lastly, Daniela Peterka-Benton, an assistant professor of Criminal Justice and a native of Austria, shared that it wasn't very long ago that she was in a similar situation as a young student studying abroad. She encouraged them to reach out for help and guidance if they should experience some challenging times, assuring them that whatever uncertainty they might feel, it is normal and shared among the group.
The program, organized by Director Mary Sasso and her International Education team, also featured performances by Yong (Melody) Zhang, a junior Music Performance major (piano), the campus President's International Student Award winner and Global Student Ambassador who hails from Hangzhou, China; and Ji Hyun (John) Chung, a junior Voice major, from Dong Du Chun, South Korea.
Near the conclusion of the program, each student came to the stage and introduced him/herself, shook hands with President Horvath and received a SUNY Fredonia pin from Interim Provost Kearns.