In early fall 2013 more than 150 students from 20 countries began their studies at INTO Marshall University. This inaugural intake has already had a profound impact on the university and on the local community. In this blog post, INTO Marshall University, Center Director, Eric Fry describes how the center has come to life and how the presence of international students is enriching the experience of their American counterparts.
Upon our move into the new INTO Marshall University center four weeks ago, I walked down the quiet, empty corridors and sat in the cool, clean classrooms. While the facilities were beautiful, they were missing something—excitement, joy, life.
Now, everything has changed. The building is still beautiful, but now it has a soul. Students are excited as they start their classes and make new friends. There is joy in learning, and laughter is the most common noise filling the once silent halls. Students from over 20 countries have developed friendships amongst themselves, with their American room-mates and classmates, and with the INTO staff.
The campus and city of Huntington is abuzz with talk about the new INTO program. Faculty are asking how they can get international students into their classes. Student clubs and organizations are recruiting Marshall’s newest additions. Restaurants and stores want to know how they can appeal to the new international community on campus. Our students have been in newspapers and on TV as we celebrate these new additions to the city.
I have been able to welcome all of the new students. We’ve visited over coffee and in between classes. We’ve participated in a fun run together, gone to Football games and shared great food. But what I haven’t been able to do yet, is to thank all of the students.
In this small, inclusive community each and every student has something special to offer and I want to thank them for that. Every single one of them is making a positive difference in the INTO program and at Marshall University. More than anything, I would like thank them for giving this new building life. For transforming it from a brick structure to a place that all of us can call home. We are… Marshall.
Author: Eric Fry
INTO Marshall University’s Centre Director Eric Fry began his working life as an army medic. He then went to the University of Montevallo in Alabama, where he earned a Master’s in Higher Education Leadership and Counselling. Over the past 15 years, he has done everything from school safety planning and emergency mitigation to three university start-ups - Cornell University in Qatar, the University of Illinois in Rockford Illinois and KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.