International students face challenges

Theidra Dillard, Chattanooga, TN–Being thousands of miles away from home while in school can be difficult, especially if there is no place to go to remind you of home.

Nancy Amberson, advisor for  international students, and Kristen Labs, assistant director at the Office of National & International Student Exchange (ONISE), both said they believe more attention should be focused on the international programs the University offers.

“International students’ home lives are very different from living in the U.S.,” Amberson said. “So accommodating them is very important.”

Amberson said she handles students coming from other 41 countries’ seeking a degree from UTC.

Labs works with exchange students here just to study abroad and earn credits toward a degree from their home university.

“I think it would be a wonderful thing to have a designated building or location where there can be programs and activities for students,” Amberson said.

The Office of National & International Student Exchanges was intended to be that designated building, but space was limited and instead became the building that contains the exchange offices and the ESL classes.

Students may participate in programs created by outside volunteers such as “First Friends Group” offered by First Presbyterian Church on McCallie Avenue, designed to help international students feel more at home in a foreign country and school.

Residential life will soon introduce a program called, “Living and Learning Communities,” geared toward educating American students about some of the many countries represented on campus.

Despite there not being any programs in place on campus right now, students like Kia Lidster, a senior from Kamploos, British Columbia, Canada, said she enjoys being in the residence halls and the Chattanooga area in general.

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