Global Fair Welcomes New Purdue International Students
On a warm clear summer evening in August, Purdue's Global Fair at the Fountain was the culminating event of the International Students and Scholars Office (ISS) "Weeks of Welcome" for new international students. Besides providing a fun, relaxed atmosphere, music, entertainment, and a barbecue dinner, there are many goals for the Global Fair. Through this event, new students and their families enjoy a warm welcome to the United States, and specifically, to Purdue. They have a chance to get to know one another in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. Making friends in a new country is key to having a good experience, and many friendships began that evening. Another benefit for our new students is the introduction to valuable help and resources available to them on and off campus.Over 900 international and domestic students, staff, and faculty members enjoyed this special evening. ISS Director Joe Potts and Provost Tim Sands welcomed new students as members of the Purdue Boilermaker "family". Performances from the Purdue Twirlers and appearances from Purdue Pete, the Cheer Squad, and the Boiler Extra Special helped get new students into the school spirit. Images were captured on cell phones throughout the evening, as students enjoyed the catered barbeque dinner. Tables were set up around the Engineering Fountain where students could learn about local resources and opportunities such as ISS programs, the International Center, Morton Community Center, and the cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette. Students enjoyed bouncing in an inflatable house, working their way through an obstacle course, and competing in games. Two lucky students rode away on brand new bicycles!
The following students enjoyed the Global Fair and agreed to be interviewed.
Miguel Cedeno Agamez
After a one-month orientation session in Massachusetts, Fulbright Scholar Miguel Cedeno Agamez came to Purdue from his home in Panama. He had been in Indiana for just a short time when he attended the International Fair by the Fountain, where he is standing by "Purdue Pete", our Boilermaker mascot. Miguel's impression of Purdue was, in his own words, "The campus is huge!" Life may be quite different in Indiana, but Miguel reports that people here go out of their way to be very kind and very helpful. His biggest concern for this semester at Purdue is the weather—he isn’t sure what to think of the coming cold winter weather. Otherwise, Miguel is thankful and confident that furthering his Information Technology research at Purdue will be a great benefit in his professional development.
"I enjoy seeing the world from windows that I never even imagined," says Fulbright Scholar, Utami Irawati of her new experience in the United States. Utami has been at Purdue for only a few weeks, but she already feels comfortable and excited about her time here. She looks forward to this new experience where she will gain from different perspectives of students and instructors from other countries.
Utami is especially excited about her classes, saying that the professors at Purdue are excellent. This expanded educational opportunity will help her gain what she needs to become a "better lecturer" when she returns home.
Visiting from her homeland of Indonesia, Utami is studying to earn her PhD in Ecological Sciences and Engineering at Purdue. She wants to deepen her knowledge, which will allow her to become an even more effective instructor in environmental chemistry, which she taught in Indonesia.
You need to feel like you belong here,” says Devendra Verma, speaking of his experience at Purdue as an international graduate student. He said that international students sometimes hesitate to approach Americans for fear that they don’t “belong”. Devendra says that learning the American culture took some time and was a challenge. He feels more comfortable now that he has made friends, and through them, continues to learn the culture.
Working on his PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering, Devendra has been at Purdue for two years. It has been a good learning experience for him. His undergraduate degree was completed in India, where he grew up.
Devendra says that it was important to meet people from other countries as well as Americans. He reports that it helped a great deal to have the support of a local American family as part of Purdue’s Friendship Host Program. He quickly felt accepted and welcomed by local residents, Jennifer and Mike Woodard and their family. Devendra reports that because of them, he enjoyed new experiences that otherwise would not have been possible, such as local high school plays and graduation.