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INTO USF is first step on road to success

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INTO USF is first step on road to success

Graduation celebrations are often called Commencement Ceremonies because they signify the beginning of the rest of young people’s lives. And it is the help and support of staff at INTO centers like the one at the University of South Florida (USF) that makes taking those vital first steps towards that beginning possible for many of the international students who graduate each year.

Graduation celebrations are often called Commencement Ceremonies because they signify the beginning of the rest of young people’s lives. And it is the help and support of staff at INTO centers like the one at the University of South Florida (USF) that makes taking those vital first steps towards that beginning possible for many of the international students who graduate each year. Abdulah Barakat, who comes from Palestine and graduated from USF in May with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology is a case in point. The experience and knowledge he gained on the General English and the Pathway in Engineering programs at INTO USF laid the foundations for the perfect 4.0 score he achieved in his degree. “My INTO advisors were the first to provide me with help,” he said. “My advisor, Ms Ariadne, helped me a lot when I first came to the General English program and studying at the IN… Read the full article
Graduation celebrations are often called Commencement Ceremonies because they signify the beginning of the rest of young people’s lives. And it is the help and support of staff at INTO centers like the one at the University of South Florida (USF) that makes taking those vital first steps towards that beginning possible for many of the international students who graduate each year.

Abdulah Barakat, who comes from Palestine and graduated from USF in May with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology is a case in point. The experience and knowledge he gained on the General English and the Pathway in Engineering programs at INTO USF laid the foundations for the perfect 4.0 score he achieved in his degree.

“My INTO advisors were the first to provide me with help,” he said. “My advisor, Ms Ariadne, helped me a lot when I first came to the General English program and studying at the INTO USF center really improved my writing. Then when I moved to USF I received bio help from bio advising and the Honors College.

“I’m getting a job at Moffitt Cancer Center in a skin cancer research lab. We will be doing experiments on mice and bacteria to find drugs for skin cancer,” said Abdulah, who not only received his degree certificate, but the prestigious ‘King O’ Neal Award’ for his perfect degree result, during a set of ceremonies that, this year, saw more international students than ever graduate from the University of South Florida (USF).

The fact that over 613 of the 6,000 students who attended six commencement ceremonies at the Sun Dome came from 100 countries was highlighted by USF System President Judy Genshaft, during a powerful speech to the assembled crowd of excited graduates, their families and friends.

"Today, you join a community of scholars that spans the world; a community that has sought truth through knowledge,” she said. “It's a community that for centuries has chosen a relentless pursuit of possibilities. A community that treasures the value of differences and diversity of thought."

For a video about Abdulah, see youtube

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Familiar faces tell moving stories at UEA graduations

Since INTO University of East Anglia first opened its doors back in 2006, the number of international students graduating from INTO’s first university partner has grown massively. This year was no exception, as 340 former INTO UEA students took their places among the 3,900 graduates who received their degrees during five days of ceremonies held in UEA’s impressive Congregation Hall. “It is so good to see so many familiar faces again, and on such a proud occasion,” said INTO UEA Centre Director Debbie Price. “I have been to many ceremonies, and am always moved when I see students who, it seems, arrived at the centre only yesterday, finally fulfilling their dreams of gettin… Read the full article
Since INTO University of East Anglia first opened its doors back in 2006, the number of international students graduating from INTO’s first university partner has grown massively.

This year was no exception, as 340 former INTO UEA students took their places among the 3,900 graduates who received their degrees during five days of ceremonies held in UEA’s impressive Congregation Hall.

“It is so good to see so many familiar faces again, and on such a proud occasion,” said INTO UEA Centre Director Debbie Price. “I have been to many ceremonies, and am always moved when I see students who, it seems, arrived at the centre only yesterday, finally fulfilling their dreams of getting a degree from a top UK university. It makes me happy to think that their experience at INTO UEA has helped them to come so far, both academically and geographically.”

Mariam Mohamed, who is from the United Arab Emirates and was collecting a law degree, paid tribute to the Foundation programme at INTO UEA. “The Foundation was good because I came to uni when I was just 17 years old, and it helped me gain confidence. The people at INTO UEA get you to think outside the box and help you to develop your confidence and get used to university life, which is completely different from high school. INTO helped because it was sort of an extra step between high school and university.”

Takayuki Saka from Japan (pictured right, with friend Yucari Iwama) received his MA in Education and Development during the ceremonies, having progressed from the Graduate Diploma at INTO UEA. “Because it was my first experience of studying in a different language, I found it really quite hard and tough. However, the INTO Graduate Diploma course was really helpful, as it provided us with not just the basics, but many more of the skills needed for a Masters in the UK and I couldn’t have completed the course without studying at INTO.”

For more student interviews, please see this video

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UEA Yucari Iwama And Takayuki Saya

INTO UAB students share sweetness of home in Alabama

This summer, students and employees at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) had a chance to experience culture and foods from their international friends’ home countries in the INTO UAB Center lobby. Every Friday during the summer semester a different INTO UAB student, staff or faculty member brought their home country to life through a variety of media, including art, music, karate or dancing and home-cooked dishes. More than 500 students, staff, community members and UAB administrators took part in the weekly events, which were organized by the INTO UAB Student Experience team. Demonstrations included origami and sushi from Japan, Bollywood dancing lessons and curry from India and dim sum … Read the full article
This summer, students and employees at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) had a chance to experience culture and foods from their international friends’ home countries in the INTO UAB Center lobby.

Every Friday during the summer semester a different INTO UAB student, staff or faculty member brought their home country to life through a variety of media, including art, music, karate or dancing and home-cooked dishes. More than 500 students, staff, community members and UAB administrators took part in the weekly events, which were organized by the INTO UAB Student Experience team.

Demonstrations included origami and sushi from Japan, Bollywood dancing lessons and curry from India and dim sum from China.  There were also presentations from Kuwait, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United States of America and Vietnam.

Xinyu Zhai, English faculty member and recent UAB MA-TESOL graduate from China, was a keen participant. “For Taste of China, we prepared dim sum and our Chinese students played Xiangqi (Chinese chess) and demonstrated nunchucks,” said Xinyu. “I was impressed with how engaged the Chinese students were with the other students. By the end of the event they were talking, playing and laughing out loud together. INTO UAB provided us with a lot of resources and created a comfortable environment in which interactions between all the students, staff and faculty off all different countries were encouraged.”

One of the most special experiences for UAB students is to cook and prepare a special dish from their home country. Evelyn Samuel, an Accelerated Public Health Pathway student from Nigeria worked with a friend from her country to choose and prepare a dish within the budget provided by INTO UAB.

“When I decided to cook for the Taste of Nigeria I got so excited! I spoke with my friend and we decided to serve a stirfry of Jollof rice, beef and plantains known as gizdodo in Nigeria,” said Evelyn. “I had to stay up late and get up early the day of the event, but it was so worth it! I think my favorite part was when I was serving and people kept coming back for seconds because they liked the meal.”

Another favorite Friday was the Taste of Mexico event which featured English faculty member Oscar Garcia’s wife’s homemade tamales and traditional Huichol art from Mexico that attracted INTO UAB faculty and staff, as well as UAB students, administration, faculty and staff.

Oscar took the opportunity to share with the guests about the Mexican influence in the United States. Many students were curious to find out about traditional Mexican stores and markets in Birmingham and to learn how the Mexican community has contributed to the US economy.

“It sounds surprising, but a lot of them did not know that Mexico is right next to the US nor about our history,” said Oscar. “Not only are we are a neighbor to the US and share a border of 1,989 miles, but we also share a deep history with a flow of more than $1.5 billion in goods and services crossing the border every day.”

“It was important for my wife and I to represent our country at the Taste of Mexico for many reasons, Oscar said. “Most importantly I wanted to share with them that I am not from the US, that I am an English language learner myself, and that they can too excel in their language proficiency.”

“The intent of our ‘Taste of’ program has been to bring people together through the sharing of food to discuss culture, tradition, and history to illustrate how similar we all are despite our different ethnic, religious and historical backgrounds,” said Achala Gunsekara-Rockwell, INTO UAB Indian Language and Culture Advisor, who was delighted to share her South Asian culture with the UAB community.

“These events on Fridays have been so important because it is one way internationals can express themselves. We feel comfortable doing what we normally do when we are back home and it also reminds us of home too,” said Evelyn.

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UAB Culturetasting

Graduation joy for former INTO University of Exeter students

This July, over 5,000 students, plus family and friends, celebrated receiving their degrees at the University of Exeter’s Great Hall on the picturesque Streatham Campus. Over 200 of the graduating students had begun their UK study journey at INTO University of Exeter, before progressing on to achieve success on a range of degree programmes at the University. This year, 76 per cent of business students from the International Foundation and International Year One programmes at INTO Exeter graduated with either a first class or upper second class honours degree. “University graduation week only gets better each year for INTO - more than 200 successful former studen… Read the full article
This July, over 5,000 students, plus family and friends, celebrated receiving their degrees at the University of Exeter’s Great Hall on the picturesque Streatham Campus.

Over 200 of the graduating students had begun their UK study journey at INTO University of Exeter, before progressing on to achieve success on a range of degree programmes at the University. This year, 76 per cent of business students from the International Foundation and International Year One programmes at INTO Exeter graduated with either a first class or upper second class honours degree.

“University graduation week only gets better each year for INTO - more than 200 successful former students have graduated in a huge range of degree subjects with proud teachers and support staff enjoying the moment. Thank you to all our students for sharing your success with us. You are amazing!” said INTO Exeter Centre Director Penny Foster. 

“My work has finally paid off, I received an upper second class honours, which I’m really proud of,” said Yuzhao Wang (Wallace) from China, who graduated with an upper second class honours in BSc Economics and Finance, having begun his studies on the International Foundation in Economics, Finance and Management pathway at INTO Exeter.

“I recommend INTO to my friends, I think it’s a brilliant way to adapt to study in the UK. The teachers here are both helpful and enthusiastic and INTO provides us with all the resources to prepare for university,” added Wallace, who is due to begin studying for a Master’s in Economics at the University of Exeter next year.

Stefaniia Orlova, from Russia, graduated with first class honours in BSc Business Economics with Industrial Placement. Prior to her degree, Stefaniia also studied on the International Foundation in Economics, Finance and Management at INTO Exeter.

“My parents came all the way from Russia to share this beautiful day with me and my brother (Daniil Orlov, pictured left with Stefaniia) who also graduated today. My journey in the UK started here at INTO University of Exeter. My course gave me a foundation of how studying works in the UK.”  Stefaniia will soon move to London to start her employment in the technology department of Price Waterhouse Coopers.

Saif Shraideh, from Jordan graduated with first class honours in BEng Mechanical Engineering. He began his studies on the International Foundation in Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science and Physical Sciences at INTO Exeter.

“Exeter was a wonderful experience for me. It feels great seeing all your friends and family surrounding you and celebrating this day with you. Personally, INTO University of Exeter helped me a lot. The teaching there is amazing and there is a friendly atmosphere,” said Saif, who will continue his studies at Imperial College London, where he will study towards a Master’s in MSc Advanced Aeronautical Engineering.

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Exeter Stefaniia Orlova And Daniil Orlov For Website

Former INTO QUB students celebrate success at end of a long journey

“Every INTO QUB student’s journey across the stage is a little longer than most,” said Centre Director Eric Fry after witnessing 128 former INTO Queen’s University, Belfast students receive their degree certificates during a series of ceremonies at the magnificent Whitla Hall in late June and early July. While in no way downplaying the achievements of the other 5,019 graduates, Eric felt that the former INTO QUB students deserved a special mention. “They’ve travelled thousands of miles, missed family events, perfected their English and still excelled in a challenging academic program, new culture and new country. The entire teaching and support staff at INTO QUB is so proud of our graduates.  When they return home, they will have more than a degree from QUB.  They will have the knowledge, abilit… Read the full article
“Every INTO QUB student’s journey across the stage is a little longer than most,” said Centre Director Eric Fry after witnessing 128 former INTO Queen’s University, Belfast students receive their degree certificates during a series of ceremonies at the magnificent Whitla Hall in late June and early July.

While in no way downplaying the achievements of the other 5,019 graduates, Eric felt that the former INTO QUB students deserved a special mention. “They’ve travelled thousands of miles, missed family events, perfected their English and still excelled in a challenging academic program, new culture and new country. The entire teaching and support staff at INTO QUB is so proud of our graduates.  When they return home, they will have more than a degree from QUB.  They will have the knowledge, ability and confidence to succeed.”

Liangyu Zhang (pictured), who is from China, is a good example of someone who has adapted very successfully to life and study at a university far from home. Having passed INTO QUB’s International Year One programme in Management and Finance, he went on to gain a degree in Business Management from the University.

"When I was at INTO QUB, all the teachers and staff gave me the greatest amount of encouragement and motivation for my future study at QUB,” he recalled.

“Even now, I still remember that my economics teacher helped me understand the 'all roads lead to Rome' concept, which changed my attitude towards study. At QUB, which is definitely the top university, there is a top teaching team and student service team for improving your learning and living experience in Belfast. I have learnt a lot. Thank you all!"

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QUB Liangyu Zhang

INTO Marshall helps students realise their potential

A buzz and sense of optimism prevailed at INTO partner Marshall University’s commencement ceremony, as flagged up by guest speaker J Mark McVey who, since graduating from the University, has starred in Broadway shows including Les Misérables. "A famous motivational speaker once said, 'Passion is born when you get a glimpse of your potential,'" Mark told the crowd of 1,621 graduating students at the early May ceremony at Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington. "I hope for you today that because of your time at Marshall University, you have gotten a glimpse of your potential… We need you. We need your skills. We need your gifts. We need your ideas." It was a proud day not just for the 119 former INTO Marshall students graduating, but… Read the full article
A buzz and sense of optimism prevailed at INTO partner Marshall University’s commencement ceremony, as flagged up by guest speaker J Mark McVey who, since graduating from the University, has starred in Broadway shows including Les Misérables.

"A famous motivational speaker once said, 'Passion is born when you get a glimpse of your potential,'" Mark told the crowd of 1,621 graduating students at the early May ceremony at Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington. "I hope for you today that because of your time at Marshall University, you have gotten a glimpse of your potential… We need you. We need your skills. We need your gifts. We need your ideas."

It was a proud day not just for the 119 former INTO Marshall students graduating, but for the team at INTO Marshall, as they were the ones who started them on their way. “We are so delighted to have such a large number of students graduating who started their Marshall story with us,” said Executive Director Stephanie Hurley Collier. “We couldn’t be prouder that they’ve completed their education at Marshall University and maintained high GPAs throughout their studies.”

Graduate Abu Emmanuel (pictured) from Nigeria received his degree in Public Health four years after starting his Pathway program at INTO Marshall. His next step is to attend graduate school in the fall where he will study for a Master’s in Health Care Administration.

“Words alone cannot express how elated I am to be graduating this semester,” said Abu. “INTO Marshall played a major role in my life as a student in the US. I learned a lot during my Pathway program and was able to instill that in my academic study, as a degree seeking undergraduate.”

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Marshall 3

INTO Stirling celebrates first special day of many

Seeing, for the first time, some of the students they had taught and supported receive their degree certificates from the University of Stirling made summer 2017 memorable for the staff at INTO Stirling. Centre Director Sandy Tippett was among the crowds which had gathered at The Gannochy Tennis Centre on campus to see a total of 2,236 students graduate from the University of Stirling. “It was an honour to be in the Chancellors procession this year and sit on the stage to watch our very first students receive their degrees in June 2017. Seeing their excitement, and knowing that we at INTO Stirling had played a part in their success, was fantastic, and I am looking forward to celebrating with for… Read the full article
Seeing, for the first time, some of the students they had taught and supported receive their degree certificates from the University of Stirling made summer 2017 memorable for the staff at INTO Stirling.

Centre Director Sandy Tippett was among the crowds which had gathered at The Gannochy Tennis Centre on campus to see a total of 2,236 students graduate from the University of Stirling. “It was an honour to be in the Chancellors procession this year and sit on the stage to watch our very first students receive their degrees in June 2017. Seeing their excitement, and knowing that we at INTO Stirling had played a part in their success, was fantastic, and I am looking forward to celebrating with former students for many years to come,” she said.

Ka Fong (Edgar), who is from Hong Kong, was there with his parents, who had travelled over especially from Japan to see him receive a degree in Marketing from the University, having progressed there via the Diploma at INTO Stirling “Graduating today has been fantastic and I feel proud of myself,” he said.

“My mother influenced me to come study in Stirling as she has previously studied here before. She also encouraged me to study with INTO and I am really glad she did because my time with INTO was great, it really gave me a great base to go on to my undergraduate degree.”

Bahadar Ali Awan from Pakistan (pictured left with Edgar), also paid tribute to the vital role played by INTO Stirling in achieving his Business Studies degree.  “INTO was an amazing experience for me, it really helped me to prepare for my undergraduate degree and now I am a graduate,” he said. “I have had an amazing time here at University of Stirling, and that is why I have decided to stay in Stirling a little bit longer to study for a postgraduate degree in Marketing.”

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Stirling Grads

Conference highlights key role of student experience

Eighteen student services team members from eight INTO centers across North America recently gathered for an annual conference, with this year’s theme embodying the national campaign #YouAreWelcomeHere and promoting a positive sense of belonging for students both on and off campus. The inclusion-themed Student Services Conference, which was hosted by INTO Mason and held at the Mason Global Center on the George Mason University campus, was a chance for everyone who works with student experience to share best practices, highlight trends and concerns in the area, and foster meaningful relationships and collaboration. The two-and-a-half-day event offered team members the many opportunities to present on and discuss their various areas of specialty, from Housing and Arrivals, S… Read the full article
Eighteen student services team members from eight INTO centers across North America recently gathered for an annual conference, with this year’s theme embodying the national campaign #YouAreWelcomeHere and promoting a positive sense of belonging for students both on and off campus.

The inclusion-themed Student Services Conference, which was hosted by INTO Mason and held at the Mason Global Center on the George Mason University campus, was a chance for everyone who works with student experience to share best practices, highlight trends and concerns in the area, and foster meaningful relationships and collaboration.

The two-and-a-half-day event offered team members the many opportunities to present on and discuss their various areas of specialty, from Housing and Arrivals, Student Care and Conduct, Orientation and Engagement, to Language and Culture.

A special highlight was a Skype call with INTO University Partnerships CEO John Latham and Co-Founder, Deputy CEO & EVP North America John Sykes in which they shared updates from the company and spoke about the vital role of the student experience to the organization as a whole.   

“It was very memorable to have the Johns join us and share their perspectives and insights from the leadership team,” said Shelby Kruczek, Housing and Arrivals Coordinator at INTO Mason. “They were very keen to answer questions and learn about what we are doing, so it was encouraging that they are interested in our work and keeping the student experience central to the organization.”

Other memorable sessions included a Pinyin Workshop, which focused on the pronunciation of Standard Chinese sounds and names, and a professional development workshop.

The conference was not all work, work, work, though, as a bit of time was found for a trip around George Mason University campus, and a night in Washington, DC, including dinner and an evening tour of some of the city’s most famous monuments.

Visit the #YouAreWelcomeHere page to view higher education’s campaign to welcome international students to the US. 

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INTO News Mason Studentconf

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