(August 30, 2012)
College welcomes largest class of international exchange students in recent history
SHREVEPORT, LA — The Office of Global Engagement has welcomed 13 international exchange students to Centenary for the Fall 2012 semester. Their arrival heralds the largest group of exchange students to stay on the College's campus within the past five years.
"I was excited about seeing the campus as it looked so nice from the pictures I saw on Centenary's website," said Basile Beaugendre, who hails from France. "All of these tall trees and the architecture of brick buildings seemed to be very beautiful. I can say now that I am not disappointed."
Faculty, staff, and students across campus have joined together to make Centenary feel like home for the internationals students. They received a warm welcome from President and Mrs. David Rowe, Vice President for Student Development Dr. Dan Seymour, and Associate Professor of Business Dr. Kelly Weeks. Dr. Seymour even extended a special invitation for the students to experience Natchitoches's Festival of Lights in December.
"I was surprised how welcoming and nice everyone was to me," said Beaugendre. "I really appreciated this as it can be stressful to travel thousands of miles away from home."
The students have already begun to explore Centenary and Shreveport-Bossier. Within their first week, they traveled to Walmart, participated in Wet N Wild orientation, experienced fire ants for the first time, and even witnessed Casey Affleck filming a movie at George's Grill. Beaugendre is continually noting the differences between Shreveport and his native home Lille:
"I had more hours of class and less homework in France. The campus is also very different—here it is a whole area, whereas the Lille campus is mixed with other buildings in the city. And the food—I discovered at my own expense that when you say something is spicy—it IS really spicy!"
Though they have only known each other for a short time, the students have become a tight-knit group. Monday night, they gathered in the Centenary Room to celebrate native Brazilian Olga Gouvea's birthday.
"The other exchange students bought cupcakes, candles, and a card on their own and invited several of their new friends to join us," said Assistant Director for Intercultural Engagement Nicole Rapagnani. "The dining services team printed the lyrics to 'Happy Birthday' in Portuguese so that we could try to sing to Olga in her native language. When Olga walked in, her smile was uncontainable, which made me realize that regardless of cultural and language differences—smiles are universal."
The thirteen students hail from China, France, Germany, Brazil, and the United Kingdom.
The Office of Global Engagement leads students in integrated learning opportunities by guiding them through intentional reflection on cultures different than their own and service to their local and global communities.