By Laura Quero / Staff Writer
Missouri Valley College is currently represented by more than 40 countries around the world. Many students of different nationalities decide every year to study on campus, which brings diversity and interculturality to MVC. The International Student Coordinator Thomas Merlott and his assistant Ana Paula Torresbaca form the international office, helping students throughout their college journey.
“I help them in the beginning process when they get to school. I speak two languages and understand one so it’s easy for them to communicate with me and express what they are going through,” said Torresbaca. “We also create activities for new international students to engage and to know each other.”
Studying abroad can bring both positive aspects and negative ones. International students are not always recognized for their courage and effort when studying in a completely different country at only 18 years old.
A senior student at Valley, Nicole Rubio, came to the United States in 2016 to study art. When she first arrived, there were not as many international students as there are now and she had to adapt to a new culture and a new language.
“At first it was hard for me, I had never left Spain before. The most difficult part for me was to be away from my family and friends,” said Rubio. “People at MVC were really nice to me from the first moment, so I adapted quickly to the environment here.”
Studying in a different county forms students as people. It is the beginning of adult life, where they have to subsist by themselves. In college, students become more mature and learn how to face the different problems that life can bring them. It is an opportunity to value themselves and consider the importance of being near the people they truly love.
A former MVC student from Spain, Sheila Garcia, graduated a year ago from college and is now facing real-world circumstances.
“Regarding the facilities to find a job, it has been harder than I thought before graduating. In all the jobs they asked for previous experience, which I didn’t have,” said Garcia. “The most important thing that I take with me is the second language that I learned here, it is always a plus for a company that you are an autonomous and committed person.”
The MVC staff and students’ experience reflects that studying abroad is an incredible opportunity that can be lived just once. Although the different inconveniences that students can find throughout their path, it is always worth it.