TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The University of Arizona is making significant investment in attracting international students, and that means helping make Tucson feel like home.
For most students moving in this week at the university, it’s a time full of tearful goodbyes and hugs with friends and family.
However, for thousands of students that arrive from overseas, sometimes to a completely new country and culture, it can be an even tougher transition.
“It was super scary, I never expected to come to the U.S.” said Maria Fernanda Charles Perez, who arrived at the university as a freshman from Mexico. “I left behind my family, my friends, my home; but I knew it was an opportunity I had to take.”
She said it wasn’t always easy, but the support she received from friends and student programs, like the Global Ambassadors, helped her to embrace her new home.
“It makes you shy in way,” she said of arriving in a new home for college. “But I feel like since the first day, I made a lot of friends, so they become your family.”
The junior is now a Global Ambassador herself.
She helps greet incoming students, shows them around campus and the surrounding area, and offers as much advice as she can.
“Make a lot of friends, and rely on them,” she suggested.
“We just try and create a lot of fun, different ways to get new students engaged,” said Andrew Conlogue, the program coordinator for student support with the International Center on campus. “We want students to feel like Tucson is their second home, which it is, but we want them to feel that way right off the bat.”