|Class of 2012 International Students Celebrated During Special Reception|
FROM CIVIL ENGINEERING to special education, journalism and plant biology, 595 international students completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in May 2012. Many of these students attended a May 16 reception sponsored by the UT International Office to honor their impressive accomplishments.
At the reception, international student graduates expressed gratitude for the opportunities and support received from faculty and staff during their time at UT. Kalpa Mehta is from India and completed her doctoral degree in plant biology, “I’ve gained so much confidence during my time here. I always had opinions but wasn’t confident enough to share them until my professors asked my opinions and we exchanged views as research colleagues. It really inspired and motivated me.”
Wendy Yuwen completed her master’s degree in civil engineering and will return home to China with the goal of working on public infrastructure projects in her home country. She hopes to one day work for the World Bank. Yuwen spoke highly of the cultural learning experience that complemented her formal degree, “The cultural differences were a shock at first, but as they say, ‘Everything is bigger in Texas’ – especially people’s hearts. I’ve made so many new friends across campus—and am grateful that my mentor continuously challenged me to get out of my comfort zone.”
Thiago Castro from Brazil completed his degree in Linguistics at UT, and plans to continue on at another US university for his doctoral degree. He still remembers the help he received from the UT International Office staff when completing his initial immigration paperwork, a small first step on an intense personal journey, “I really appreciated that initial support. During my time here, I’ve learned to be brave and developed the discipline needed to achieve my goals.”
Zhongyu Yuan from China completed a master’s degree in journalism and plans to complete an exchange program in Washington D.C., stay in the U.S. for a few years and then return to China to pursue a career in journalism. He enjoyed the small graduate classes and participative learning environment at UT, as well as the diversity on campus, “Texas is booming with people from so many different cultures and variety of students on campus was great. The activities offered through the International Office, such as our trip to NASA in Houston, really helped me get to know other international students.”
The reception also included brief presentations by the winners of the international student photo and essay competitions sponsored by the UT International Office. Debarati Kundu from India, who completed a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering, read her winning essay detailing her experiences learning about U.S. culture. Writing about what she learned about herself and others during her time at UT, she shared:
Additionally, Mariana Sada-Coeto from Mexico, who completed a bachelor’s degree in computer science, spoke about the photo she took of her brother in front of the UT Tower, which will be displayed in the UT International Office. The ceremony concluded with a brief keynote address by UT Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Steven Leslie commending the international student class of 2012 on their contributions and accomplishments.
Congratulations to all of the international students in the class of 2012!
Story by Angie Pastorek