Lourdes Calvo Tomás is a Spanish exchange student who is happy studying at Maryville College and she has countless plans for the near future such as traveling to Puerto Rico, studying for her masters anywhere in the world and working in Hong Kong.

Lourdes studied in a French school in Spain and then decided to improve this language studying with two years of Languages ​​Applied to Economics and Law at Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III in France. Then, and because her intention is to work as a conference interpreter and simultaneous translation, she made the decision to come to the USA to perfect her English.

"I must confess that my first choice was not Maryville College, but now I'm glad to be here. Living on campus has allowed me to make many friends and that makes me very happy because I feel accompanied, like home".

The goal for her now is to speak English as fluently as she speaks Spanish and French, and then get a masters in interpretation somewhere in the world. “The truth is that I want to do many things. I want to continue studying and traveling, knowing the world. I have also the opportunity to go and work in Hong Kong, where I spent already a month and a half last year. I want to know Latin America as well... I know I want to do many things, I have not made up my mind of which thing first and which one later though, but I will do all of that”.

Lourdes finishes her studies at Maryville College in May and then she will decide what to do next….

"Since I was in fourth grade, I want to be a teacher." To Soojung An or Susan, as her American friends call her, teaching children is one of her main goals in life, for that reason she is studying a semester at Maryville College.

She is an exchange student from the Sejong University of South Korea, where she is in her last year of her major, English Literature. Her minor is Education. "Maryville College has been a good place to improve my English. People here are very friendly so it is easy to establish conversations with other students."

Susan wants to teach English to middle school students in South Korea. "I chose to be a teacher because my fourth grade teacher was very kind to me and my class. Unintentionally she encouraged me to study and now I want to teach English in a public school in my country."

Susan enjoys reading, an activity that she tries to do in her free time, although she acknowledges that increasingly has less free time, because she has to do a lot of homework daily.

Another thing that she likes to do is travel, especially to place with beaches, so at the end of this semester she wants to visit an American city with beaches, one of her options is to go to Florida. Also she will travel to Boston, Washington and New York.

She will return to South Korea to finish her last semester of university and then she’ll graduate. "I know that being at Maryville College helps me to improve my English, so I think when I’ll get to my university I will have no problem to finish and start doing my practice and become an English teacher."

Life always presents opportunities and I found one, here at Maryville College. My name is Cosset Avalos, I'm Chilean. I’m a journalist and most of my career I've developed in the areas of communications and public relations in various mining companies. My work has given me great satisfaction, such as the creation of new media, editing numerous magazines and TV programs, travel in and out of my country and assist in the training of many people. One of my greatest accomplishments was editing the book "Rio Blanco y Andina, Vision of Chileans” that today is an important contribution to the mining history of my country.
I was working in mining, especially for a Canadian company, when I realized that I had to improve my English to do my job better. Thus I and my children (aged 9 and 11 years) came to the United States to study English. In Maryville College I met wonderful teachers who patiently taught me to write, read and speak English, people who encouraged me to explore new professional development alternatives. That was how I noticed the large number of programs of study offered Maryville College and also the various alternatives available to fund the studies. So I decided to take one of these alternatives and now in the fall of 2012 I am starting a new professional challenge, I begin to study for Spanish Teacher Licensure.

As a journalist I think people need to communicate and express opinion, but often the languages are communication barriers, for this reason I want to become a professor of Spanish, learning and teaching a new language facilitates understanding between people of different cultures, improves coexistence and contributes to the development of human beings and the society in which he lives. MC also is supporting me with a scholarship so now only depends on my reach my goals and be succeeding in this new professional development opportunity that I found here at Maryville College.

I am Syed Aamir Ali Shah from Pakistan. I was selected to attend one semester exchange program at Maryville College (Spring 2012) through Global UGRAD Pakistan funded by US Department of State. I am an Economics major, third year student. When I came to know that I am assigned to study at Maryville College, I searched and found it to be very small college. However, I was amazed to experience it when I got here. Initially, cold days and new food made me homesick but with the passage of time I got used to that. And as my semester started, I was successful to register for courses of my choice and soon started to enjoy classes as Maryville College’s class environment is very open and competitive.
 Moreover, I attended various campus programs and participated in activities organized by international house besides visiting nearby tourist sites which added to my exposure to more people from different countries and gave me chance to share my thoughts and culture. In addition to that, I volunteered to work in Habitat for Humanity and this provided me with another dimension to look at American society. 
Finally and fortunately, I was able to find the Muslim community nearby where I visited every Friday and met some people from my country Pakistan also. I have made a lot of friends from different countries and this memorable journey is to remain with me for whole of my life.

My name is Isaac Mbimi I am a sophomore Engineering major at Maryville College. I am originally from Yaoundé Cameroon Africa. I started with English as a Second Language (E.S.L.) classes. I chose Maryville College because I wanted to study in the United States and Maryville College seemed to match my personality the best. It also had a strong engineering and mathematics department which was essential to my academic needs. My favorite thing about Maryville College is how nice the people are. I enjoy being involved in campus organizations such as Global Citizens Organization (G.C.O.), Black Student Association (B.S.A.), and the Scots Basketball team. The lifestyle is very different from back home especially the food, and the weather.

I have found comfort and family in the Maryville Scots Basketball team. I spend most of my non-academic time sharing my culture with my teammates and they share their American culture with me. I have enjoyed my time so far and can’t wait for the many more adventures that lie ahead at Maryville College.

My name is Sujin Jung. I am an exchange student from South Korea. When I applied for an exchange student program, Maryville College was my first choice because of the size of its campus. I thought that the small size of the campus could help me adjust to American campus life, and indeed, it was quite helpful for me. In a classroom, the number of students is usually less than thirty. So, when I had difficulty keeping up with classes, I could receive a lot of attention and help from professors.

Not only was the size of the campus helpful to me but also International House staff has helped me experience American culture. As an exchange student, I was supposed to experience American culture and inform Americans of Korean culture. I-house staff took international students to a football game, a rodeo, a thanksgiving dinner, and other activities. Also, they hosted diverse international fairs and allowed international students to have presentation about their country and their culture. 

I have been at Maryville College for seven months. While I was here, I have met a lot of students from other countries and experienced a diversity of cultures. When I go back to Korea, the experiences will leave me with unforgettable memories.

Hello! My name is Ayaka Ito, from Yokohama, Japan. Probably my career path which I have been walking through may be a little bit different from that of other sophomore’s. I graduated from university in Japan in 2008, and worked in a company for 2 years as a businessperson. In 2010, I had a hard time to decide which is better for me, studying abroad that was kind of my dream from the youth, or changing a job. 

Fortunately I found Maryville College through my scholarship program, but still hesitated to go for it. At that time I was 24 years old. Am I too old as an undergraduate student? What is the significance of studying in the college for 4 years again in the USA, with a bunch of students who is much younger than me? However, the answers were simple; it is never too late to learn something, as far as my eagerness to study abroad is strong enough. Also I cannot forget all of hearty supports of my parents and friends; they are truly making my stay a fabulous one. There are over 5000 colleges in the USA, and their educational system and teaching method vary. The characteristic which makes Maryville College so distinctive is absolutely the intimacy between students and faculty, and its amazing campus. If you see around, you will easily find many squirrels, and be able to see fireflies twinkle during summer time. The campus located at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, which is stunningly beautiful. Also, the numbers of students are small, but the percentage of international students is very high instead. This makes Maryville College such a wonderful, diverse setting, and lets students enjoy life, cross-culturally. Basically, we are like a big international family!

Because of my previous working experience, I was majoring international business. But during the freshman’s year, through liberal arts courses I found my inclination to study about English education, so I added the ESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) major. At first I was trying to minor in both of these, but from my advisor’s recommendation, I decided to set them up as double majors.

I’ve been busy, because major courses require me to take approximately three times more classes than minor. The good thing is that internationals don’t need to take second language classes, since English is already a second language. Also, compared to other majors, international business majors are allowed to take many elective courses. Thanks to all of this, I can manage my schedule by putting most of my ESL major requirements to international business electives. 

Maryville College gives me lots of other opportunities besides studying. I am a regular member of MC Dance Ensemble and have a leadership position of Global Citizenship Organization. In addition, since last August I’ve been doing Peer Mentoring to support freshmen and transfer students. All of them are so much fun and it's an exciting way to spend my time and energy. Furthermore, I’ve been involved in fundraising after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami last year. Thanks to everyone's hard work, we have collected over $13,000 donations eventually. This experience will be unforgettable and is absolutely the proudest thing ever that I’ve accomplished. 

The mission statement of Maryville College “Stretch Your Mind” actually has a strong power to encourage all students to bring their best to the next level. At Maryville you can have a perfect environment to concentrate on your studies, and all the dedicated faculty members are there to support your effort. What is your ambition? What do you want to achieve from the heart? Nobody can decide what you want to do but you. Your possibility is infinite and all in front of you.
リベラルアーツカレッジの2年生としては、私の経歴はちょっと異色かもしれません。2008年に日本の大学を卒業し、2年間社会人として働いていました。会社勤めをしながら、留学への希望も捨てきれずにいた2010年初め、Maryville Collegeの存在を知りました。これから新しく1年生としてアメリカの大学に入学し、何歳も年下の学生たちと一緒にもう一度4年間学ぶ事にどんな意義があるのか。当時24歳という年齢だった事もあり、迷いました。でも最後に背中を押してくれたのは、家族や友人の真摯なサポートと、「アメリカに留学したい」という自分の正直な気持ちでした。

アメリカには5000以上の大学があります。教育レベルもその方法もさまざまです。その中でMaryville Collegeを特別な存在にしているのは、やはり教授と学生の距離の近さと、国立公園にごく近い自然豊かなキャンパスだと思います。キャンパス中をリスが駆け回り、夏の夕方には蛍が光ります。本当に素敵なところです。学生数は少ないですが、留学生の割合は非常に高く、さまざまな国の文化に触れる事ができます。留学生全体が大きなファミリーのような感じです。

社会人時代の経験から、入学当初は国際ビジネスを専攻していましたが、汎用的な教養科目を履修するうちに教育分野への興味が湧き、Teaching English as a Second Language(ESL)のメジャーを加えました。当初はどちらかをマイナーにしようと思っていましたが、アドバイザーに相談したところ両方メジャーしかないと言われ、泣く泣くダブルメジャーに・・・。


取り組んでいるのは学業だけではありません。MC Dance ensembleでダンスのパフォーマンスを行ったり、Global Citizenship OrganizationのLeadership positionで留学生をまとめたりしています。今年からはPeer mentorという1年生のサポート役も務めています。今年3月に日本で起こった地震の後は、さまざまな人の協力を得ながら支援活動に携わりました。多くのチャリティイベントを企画し、最終的に100万円以上の義捐金を集めた経験は、私の一生の誇りです。

Stretch your mind. Maryville Collegeのミッション・ステートメントには、人が持っている最大限の能力をもう少しだけ引き伸ばす、パワーがあります。そして、ここMaryville Collegeには、あなたが望めば、それを実現できるだけの環境と、あなたの努力を全力で支えてくれる教授たちがいます。あなたがここで本当にやりたい事は何か。決めるのはあなたです。

Hi! Everybody my name is Yaroslav Brychka and I come from Kirovohrad, Ukraine! I am a hospitality management major and concentrate mostly on business classes at MC. I got a lucky chance to study abroad and I grabbed it. Just like that! Some people might ask was it that easy? Well, if you want to achieve success in anything you do, you have to put a lot of work and effort into it. The program is called UGRAD and it a leadership program which allows me to study in the USA for one academic year. I did actually have a chance to choose a college, but know that I know much about a MC I can say it was a good choice.

When first heard about a MC, I was not quite sure why my program has chosen this college. After being at MC for more than a semester, my views have changed a lot and I learned a lot. I got to know many international and US student. With some of them I am good friends. Here at Maryville College I got a great chance to participate in clubs and different college activities. One of my most important experiences is learning about the US and American culture. I did not participate in the ESL program, but I know a lot of people who have and had good responses about it. I also have some ESL friends and we hang out from time to time. It is difficult to say one thing I like about MC. There are just so many things to be listed, so I will list my favorite. I think Maryville College is a great place to socialize with different people. I really enjoy my professors at MC, they are high class professionals with a lot of experience which they share at class. I like the location of MC, because it is like several steps from nature and the Smoky Mountains, which I can see from my window.

MC has given me a lot of valuable experience, which I did not think I might come across. This has given me a great chance for personal growth. I have been involved with a lot experiences on-campus and off-campus. I am an active member of GCO club and hope to apply for a leadership position this semester. I have participated in a lot of non-profit and volunteer activities. I have volunteered at Habitat for Humanity, Parks and Recreation at Maryville, Knoxville Leadership foundation and Martin Luther King Center at Maryville. I am looking forward to new experiences and activities at MC! I am always happy to meet new people and socialize. Thanks MC for this great experience and I am looking forward for the same to happen this semester.

Nobody can find a better college than here. My name is Yasuo Fukui. I also have a name in English, Korean and Arabic. Actually, my friends from those countries named my name in those languages. I’m from Chiba, Japan, and after graduating from high school in Japan, I was looking for a college in United States.
The reason why I chose Maryville College is that it is a liberal arts college. I know there are other liberal arts colleges but I like Maryville the best. In my studies, I am focused on developing overall academic skills. In the life style at MC, we are required to be independent and to develop leadership skills. Also, Maryville College has a high ranking of the ‘’best colleges” list.

It’s already pasts 9 months since I came here. During the first 5 months from April to August, I studied English as a second language (ESL) to improve my English ability. The ESL program is composed of student from Saudi Arabia, Asia, Europe and many other places. Thanks to the program I have friends from about 20 countries. The program is held every month so you can join many times during the year. The number of the students in a class is usually less than 10 students. At first, I didn't have confidence in my speaking ability. But, thanks to the ESL program and friends from all over the world my English has improved. The class is divided with students’ English abilities so we can learn with students at our same level. There is even a class to learn the alphabet for beginners. My first roommate couldn't say anything in English at first. He could say just his name, but now that his English abilities have improved, he can communicate with friends with joy. Thus, even if you are an beginning student, it doesn't matter. Of course I was also this kind of person. I couldn't speak anything except being asked “how are you?” I always answered “I’m fine, thank you and you?”  It’s a typical response that we all Japanese learn, which is not practical at all and is never used in the USA. Anyway, if you haven’t decided whether to study abroad or not, don’t worry. It is worth it. I was not the exception who was hesitating to plunge into new world, but once I came here, I didn’t need to be anxious.

I cannot count the number of good things about Maryville College, There are too many. I can say thanks to everyone at MC. I feel we are connected with people because when I walked in the campus I can see my friends and say “hello” and hug each other. Also, all the students they are really kind and thoughtful. I noticed this even more after I went to New York. After that trip I felt that Maryville is the best place, even better than my hometown.

僕は福井康夫。英語と韓国語とアラビア語の名前も持っている、というか仲の良い友達が命名してくれた。自分は千葉県の出身で東京の高校を卒業 後、留学斡旋業者を使わずに一から自分で調べてMaryville Collegeに辿り着いた。MCを選んだ理由は色々あるけど一番大きな決め手になったのはliberal arts collegeだということ。勉学面では基礎固め重視、生活面ではまず自立を目指し、リーダーとして活躍することを目指している。また本校は全米ランキン グにおいても上位に位置し、勉強するにはもってこいの環境となっている。

今月でここに来て9ヶ月目になるが、最初の4−8月の5ヶ月間はESL(English as a second language)クラスで英語を学び、英語力の向上を図った。ESLは1ヶ月単位でやっていて友達の入れ替わりが激しかったが、主にサウジアラビア人が 占めていてその他にもアジア諸国、東南アジア、ヨーロッパなど各国から学生たちが集まっている。実際、自分が入った1ヶ月後には20カ国近くの友達ができ た。クラスは少人数制の10人以下でやっている。クラス分けは学力で分けられており、アルファベットから学べる授業もある。最初のルームメイトは来た当初 何も話せなかったみたいだけど、今では意思疎通がとれるまでに成長した。だから’小学生’でも安心して渡米できる。もちろん自分も例外じゃなかった。英会 話は何も知らずhow are you? と聞かれてI’m fine thank you.としか返せない程度だった。もし行くか迷っているのだったらもう悩む必要はない。早く来な。自分も渡米するまでめちゃくちゃ悩んで体壊しかけたけ ど今じゃもっと楽しみに待っていればよかったなと思っている。

MCで良いとこは数知れずだがまず、キャンパスがとても小さいこと。どこに行っても友達に会えて挨拶交わしたりハグするから本当に人と繋がっているのだ なって思える。それにみんなスッゴイ優しい。NYに旅行に行ったときでさえMaryvilleが一番だなって思っていたし、今も変わらない。

課外活動はまだそんなに始めてないけど次のセッションからleadership programに参加してリーダーたるものがどう行動すれば良いのかを学びたい。それからボランティア活動にも参加するつもりで来年隣の州まで行ってトル ネードの被害が大きかった所へ行くつもりだ。元々ボランティア活動は好きな方というか好きだったのでこれからもっとそういった活動にも熱を注ぎたい。

My name is Onyeka Ononye and I'm an international student from Nigeria. Before I decided to leave my home country and come to MC, I had searched for schools with the regular criteria: liberal arts education, small class size, low faculty to student ratio and a good website. I was of the opinion that a good and well developed website showed that the college was able to sell itself to students who weren't able to have a campus tour. That might sound like a pretty funny criterion, but that was really important. The major deciding factor though was its location.

"Tennessee......are you kidding?" was one of the statements a lot of my friends made when I told them I was considering coming to MC. You see, I live in a place that's pretty commercial and fashion forward, so just like the lot of my friends, applying to states like New York, California and the likes were more favourable. Nonetheless, I was up to the adventure of traversing unfamiliar territory, so I decide to go to Maryville College.

Upon my arrival, I began to lose confidence. I guess I should have expected it to happen considering that I was there alone without family and friends, but this didn't last for long. MC has one of the best international campus communities you can think of. Making friends from parts of the world you never even knew existed gives you a whole new perspective on issues ranging from politics to personal perceptions. The first organization I joined was the Global Citizenship Organization. This organization consists of both international and American students who have studied abroad or are just internationally minded. This group soon became my family as it was easy to express the way I was feeling since most of us felt the same way. I can't say that I've learned a new language yet, but I know a word on two in Moldovan, Spanish and even Thai. I also know how to write my name in Arabic and Korean.

Maryville College to me is a place where diversity is celebrated. MC allows you give your opinions both in and out of the classroom. It's a nice community filled with people who always have smiles on their faces.

Coming to MC has opened doors to many opportunities for me. I am the president of an organization called Voices of Praise. This choir will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in March and I will have the opportunity to sing with Pastor Donnie McClurkin, an award winning gospel musician. I am also a resident assistant(RA) in the female freshman residence hall. As an RA, I have met some of the most talented people in my life. As a Bonner scholar, I have also gotten the opportunity to volunteer at sites I would never in a million years have imagined possible.

So far, I've been talking about my experiences, but this blog wouldn't be complete without talking about the college’s academic standards. As a biology major, I can definitely say that MC has a strong science program. At MC students are given the opportunity to learn and then put all those theories into practice. The professors are so knowledgeable and don't hesitate to impart their knowledge to their students. One way by which they do this is by offering lab apprenticeship positions to students. I am really excited to be a lab apprentice next semester because I know it will take me much closer to becoming involved in professional genetic research.

I can definitely say that even though I still have a couple of years left for my undergraduate studies, I am glad that I get to spend it in a place such as Maryville College. HAPPY NEW YEAR!