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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

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Reasons for coming to UH as diverse as students


Every year, hundreds of students across the world embark on a journey of educational advancement in a country other than their own.

David Batizi came to UH from Hungary to pursue a master’s degree in human resources development.

As a Fulbright Scholarship recipient, Batizi is on a full scholarship that covers his two-year degree program.

“When I applied for the Fulbright Scholarship, there were about 110 applicants, and I was very fortunate to be among the 11 students chosen to receive this scholarship,” Batizi said. “That is how I got to UH.”

UH welcomes hundreds of international students to its campus every year.

Anita Gaines, the director of the International Student and Scholar Services Office, said there are more than 3,000 international students enrolled at UH this semester.

Some of these students came to UH to attend one of the prestigious colleges on campus.

“What brought me to Houston is I wanted to study chemical engineering,” chemical engineering junior Nesrine Aroua said. “And the UH Department of Chemical Engineering is rated one of the top in the United States.”

Aroua, from Tunisia, finds that UH provides a relaxing and stress-free studying atmosphere.

Some students, like Ngoc Tran from Vietnam, came to experience a new country and culture. She graduated from a university in Vietnam with a bachelor’s degree in foreign trading.

“I wanted to further advance in my studies,” Tran said. “The best university (in Vietnam) is something called interactive, in which you study for two years in Vietnam and two years in a foreign country.

“But the course is just nearly equal to studying in a foreign country, so why don’t you just take the chance to live in another country? I heard UH was a good university, so I checked information online and applied.”

But moving to a new school, let alone a new country, is no easy task and can be daunting for some.

Dance major Jessica Cortez from Spain finds that it’s up to the student to make the experience worthwhile.

“I was a bit skeptical at first about the school,” Cortez said. “I mean, I really didn’t know anyone, but the various clubs such as Dance Ensemble which I participate in allow you to express your own uniqueness while getting to know your student body.

“It has to be up to the student. International students tend to be really quiet and timid, but I guess I just like to talk to people.”

Yahute Castaneda, a dance major from Puerto Rico, agrees.

“At first, I was taken aback by how big the university was, but all that I knew was a small group of people at home in Caguas (Puerto Rico). Coming here and expanding really made a difference in my networking skills,” Castaneda said.

Gaines gave more insight on just how diverse the UH campus truly is.

“We are known for our diversity,” Gaines said. “The Institute of International Education annually publishes a document called Open Doors, which ranked UH 24th in the nation in fall 2008. We have about 136 countries represented at UH, and the top five countries represented for spring 2010 are India, China, Vietnam, South Korea and Mexico.”

The school’s diversity has given some students, such as dance major Kristina Prats from Cuba, the opportunity to experience different cultures.

“Coming to UH has been fun. The diversity is definitely a good way to learn from different cultures,” Prats said.

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