Carpe Diem, Travel Abroad: International Students Weigh In

Simone Johnson, Columnist

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Whenever Balbino Rodriguez gets homesick for his hometown in Catalunya, he goes to a restaurant in Manhattan called España, which serves all of the traditional food he is used to back home.

Catalunya is not a part of Spain as many people misconceive, it is a nationality in Spain which is currently trying to gain its independence.

“There’s a culture where people are goal-oriented and work really hard,” Rodriguez said. “We are also family-oriented, value having fun and the food is awesome.”

Before senior history major and accelerated special education Master’s degree student Rodriguez came to Pace he attended a boarding school in Switzerland and Yale University for one year.

Rodriguez decided to serve in the United States Marine Corps for six years, continuing his studies online and graduating with a B.A. in Business Administration.

Studying in the U.S. has had its ups and downs. “Blending in the U.S. and keeping with tradition has been difficult,” explained Rodriguez, “and there’s not a lot of Spaniards running around to relate to.” Luckily, Rodriguez happened to befriend another international student on campus who is from the same region in Catalunya.

Senior environmental studies major Georgina Goulding is from Wellington, New Zealand, and is graduating this May after attending Pace on a swimming scholarship. Goulding plans on getting a master’s degree in environmental management. During her time in the U.S., Goulding participated in the Greece travel course and traveled to Ohio, Florida, Boston and Seattle, all experiences she described as memorable.

There are 1500 international students on the New York City campus and only 13 in Pleasantville.

As a student from Mexico, Pace Chronicle Copy Editor

Carlos Villamayor expressed his thoughts on lack of support and events for international students in Pleasantville, in a recent opinion piece called “Taco Tuesday is Not Enough.”

Villamayor wrote that there were few activities during the International Students and Scholars Office’s (ISSO)

International Education Week, no different than the typical study abroad fair stripped of any events promoting international student engagement.

Villamayor also wrote that ISSO doesn’t provide international students with recreational opportunities; it doesn’t even provide the basics.

Goulding says she was lucky in that she was always busy with the swim team, that lack of events did not bother her. Rodriguez thinks both students and the administration can do more to host events and create more of a sense of community for international students in Pleasantville.

“Pace makes you feel welcome, it’s making friends that’s hard sometimes. I’d say have more events. Not all of us (international students) know each other. We may see each other at orientation and that’s it,” Rodriguez said.

Interim University Director of International Programs and Services and Assistant Director of Faculty-Led Study Abroad Theresa Frey, says that she hears and understands the concerns of international students, and says her office is in the process of hiring a Pleasantville-based fulltime coordinator to work with international students.

“We understand we’re not there yet, but we will be growing in coming years to meet the need. But we are happy, the more student voices we hear, the more their needs and wants can be met,” Frey said. “We want to hear what both international and U.S. students are interested in.”

Frey also said the Office of International Programs and Services would be happy to support students interested in starting a club for international students and building a community of international education.

International students can look forward to significant changes starting in the fall, thanks to their growing community and the voices of their fellow peers advocating for these improvements.


Correction: The Pace Chronicle misidentified student Balbino Rodriguez as a U.S. veteran. This student is not a veteran as confirmed by officials on campus.

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