Foreign students seize the opportunity at the! 'Hurst
"If only the Americanstudents would realize what awealth of first hand information about other cultures andcountries we have here, and ifonly they would use It..."Sister Elisabeth, director ofCampus Ministry and foreign
is of coursereferring to the foreign
who are presently attending Mercyhurst College,This year 24 foreignstudents
representing 13countries are enrolled at thecollege. There are
Canadianstudents, two from Ireland,and one student each from thecountries of Denmark, Egypt,
Jamaica, Mexico,Nigeria, Pakistan, SouthAfrica, Spain, Sweden, andZimbabwe.What is
that brings a
lege student thousands ofmiles from home to attendMercyhurst College In Erie,Pennsylvania,
P Many of
the students arerecruited by the college'ssports programs, particularlycrew and tennis. PhilNykyforuk, a senior history
major from Canada, admits,"Honestly,
If weren't for thetennis team,
would neverhave come to school in the
* ™ *
"College is unbelievably ex-!pensive here," he continued."I could complete a four-year'degree at a Canadian university for about 3,500 Americandollars."
ftrvjThe same is true of Sweden,according to freshman math
and tennis recruitMichael
"Our universities are free," he
"Allyou have to pay is a $50
dent government fee."
Other students like DianneFranklin from South Africa,particularly wanted to study instudents are HRM majors.Students from Ireland are attracted to the college throughthe recently instituted John F.Kennedy Scholarship programfor Irish students.
* Mercy hurst's
Foreign Students - standing,
Khalid Massoud(Egypt), John McKenna (Canada),
un Ahmed Sheikh(Pakistan), Sr. Elisabeth (advisor), Juan Blazquez (Spain). Couch, l-r:Chris Marshall (Canada), Fiona McGettigan (Ireland), Dianne Franklin(South Africa), Margot Miles (Zimbabwe), Patty Marshall (Canada),Chris Spencer (England) and front center Segun Balogun (Nigeria).
[the United States just to seethe country. Mercyhurst's firstforeign graduate student,Dianne is working for herMaster's in criminal justiceadministration."I am really here to
Bruce Springsteen," she quip
A national champion inwhite-water kayaking, Diannewas also drawn to
by the crew team.
"The students who do notcome because of the athleticscome here because they haveheard Mercyhurst is a goodcollege," Sr. Elisabeth com
are drawn bythe reputation of the hotelrestaurant management pro
Eight of the 24 foreign
Of course, every individualhas his or her own reasons forbeing here. Freshmen dancemajor Margot Miles came fromZimbabwe hoping to arrive at adecision as to her futurecareer. "I had lost a lot of interest in my dancing and so
am here asking myself 'Do
really want to dance?'," she
As Sr. Elisabeth explained,there is a lot of red tape involved for these students oncethey decide to come into theU.S. The government requiresthem to carry a foreign student
with them at ail times.They are not eligible for financial aid or work study. If theywish to work off-campus, theymust apply for permissionfrom the government, which
only granted to them for co-opexperiences.
r As foreign student advisor,it is Sr. Elisabeth's job to takecare of all the students' legalpaperwork. The entire CampusMinistry staff works to helpthe foreign students with anyproblems they encounter."I am still missing one of mybags that the airport lost,"Dianne
She thinks someone may have stolen itwhile she was occupied at im
winter boots,life jacket and teddy bear arein that bag," she added -essentials for
water-sport enthusiast who will be tacklingher first winter in Erie.Upon their arrival in the U.S.,most foreign students mustadapt to an entirely new
and lifestyle.Everything from clothing sizesto dating customs are usuallydifferent. When a student'snative country is much
ferent from the U.S., he or shewill suffer culture shock.Margot was shocked by thecasual classroom atmosphere."I went to a very strict, formalschool at home. You wouldnever see a student with hisfeet up and a Pepsi in his handduring class.
"The food is entirely
ferent here also," she
"And at home we haveservants.
do not know how toiron clothes or even how tocook. I'm learning how to live,not how to study," shecommented. iOther cultural differencesare less troublesome. "Athome we call traffic lights'robots'," Dianne
"Andmy roommates thought it wasfunny when
said the phonewas 'engaged'. It was 'busy'."Dianne is in the process ofpurchasing a used car. Ofcourse, she will have tobecome accustomed to driving on the opposite side of the
but at least gasoline isnot eight American dollars pergallon as it is in South Africa.Loneliness can be another| problem for those foreignstudents who are unable toreturn home and must remainon campus over college vaca
"Many of our foreignstudents have no contact address in the United States,"explained Sr. Elisabeth. "Itwould be really wonderful ifthe American students wouldinvite the foreign students togo home with them overholidays."The foreign student profitsby that, " she continued, "butthe host student and his or herfamily also profits by havinganother culture in their home."In the end, it seems that theadvantages of studying
aforeign country outweigh theproblems. "Even if
choose togo home in December,
will have gained maturity andindependence," said ahomesick Margot. *"I am grateful for what
tookthe opportunity to come here,"she concluded.And that from a student whodid not even know that Mercyhurst's motto is "CarpeDiem - Seize the Opportunity".
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