With 92 students from outside the United States, it’s not unusual to hear foreign languages floating around the Weatherford College campus.
This semester there are students from 19 different countries other than the United States attending WC. The most represented countries are Nepal with 27 students and Bangladesh with 26 students. Students also hail from India, Kenya, China, Albania, Pakistan, Korea, Australia, among many others.
Obaydul Apurba, a sophomore from Bangladesh studying information systems, came to Texas because he learned of the affordable higher education. A visit to WC exceeded his expectations and he applied to become a student. Like other international students he keeps in touch with friends and family back home via social media and video apps like Skype.
The biggest adjustment for most of the foreign students is the food – missing the comforts from their country and adjusting to American food; however, most of them claim Tex-Mex as their new favorite.
Another common remark from international students at WC is about the friendliness of the people they meet in Texas.
“Everyone is friendly,” Apurba said. “Whenever I feel any problem or need to talk to someone I just go, ‘Hi, what’s up?’ And that’s the way. A friendship’s beginning. People are very friendly at Weatherford College.”
Haitian student Miselene Lucas transferred to WC from Tarleton. While in Stephenville, she experienced her own bit of southern hospitality.
“I would come in and the boys would just open the door for me to come in,” she said. “I love that. That was my favorite thing.”
There are also several students from Serbia, Croatia and Lithuania who attend WC as athletes on the Coyote and Lady Coyote basketball teams. In Europe, these students would have to choose between playing basketball and their education.
“Back home, if you want to play basketball you can’t really go to school,” Vlatko Granic said. “We don’t have college basketball. You can only go to college to study and get a degree. That’s why we decided to come here . . . The best solution is to get both because you never know what’s going to happen. You have to get an education.”
Each February, Weatherford College focuses one week to explore the diversity of various cultures present on campus.
“The events during Multicultural Week allows our international students to bring awareness to the diversity we have here on campus,” said Latonya Hines, Assistant Director of Admissions. “The events also give the students the opportunity to showcase their heritage and culture.”
During Multicultural Week this year, students enjoyed a variety of foods from various cultures in the Doss Student Center. On Mardi Gras, members of the WC Jazz Band entertained with live music and the cafeteria served up Cajun and Creole food.
Later in the week, international students showcased their national heritage with a display set up during the lunch hour. Students from Croatia, Lithuania, Mexico and Bangladesh participated in the event and shared their culture with interested students, faculty and staff.
“This event is very important for American students as well as for the international students,” said Doug Jefferson, Executive Director of Student Development and Student Life. “Many Texas students do not have the opportunity to visit the various countries represented at WC, so hosting The Multicultural Awareness Week event provides a small sample of how students live in other countries and what it takes to get here. After speaking with international students, some of our local students develop a greater appreciation for their blessings and opportunities.”
Find more interviews with WC international students on the Weatherford College YouTube channel.
|Photo: International students from Croatia and Lithuania share videos about their culture with a fellow Weatherford College student during a heritage display set up as part of Multicultural Week at WC.