International Students Add Learning Experience for On Campus Residents

Students at Texas A&M International University are grasping the realities of an increasingly global society in their classrooms and by living next door to students from countries they may have never visited.

Mike Hanley, general manager of University Village, A&M International's new student apartment complex, said 15 countries are represented among the student population living in the complex.

"Our University Village community represents the international element of the University. We have students from all over the world, including the former Soviet Union. We have become so globalized in the past few years that now, all of a sudden, we are talking with people from parts of the world, somewhere you couldn't place telephone calls to before," Hanley said.

According to August 1998 figures, nationalities in the University Village population include Albania, Costa Rica, Finland, Germany, Honduras, India, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, The Netherlands, Panama, Peoples Republic of China, Russia and Uzbekistan.

Residents also come from different states across the United States, Hanley said. States represented include Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin and Virginia.

While 68 percent of the students at the University Village are from Texas, 21 percent are from foreign countries and 11 percent from out-of-state.

"Our students appreciate the diversity in population. They get to understand some of the differences that exist among our cultures," Hanley said.

Hanley added that by living at the University Village, students not only gain a broader understanding of the world but also about human relations.

"If you are going to live with other people, you will have to adjust to other people. You have to learn to tolerate others and be assertive," Hanley said.

Pavel Terechine, a student from Voronezh, Russia, who is pursuing a masters degree in business administration, said he decided to live at the University Village after hearing about the facility from Hanley while in Russia.

"It's a precious cross-cultural experience," said Terechine, referring to the interaction he has had with other international students at the University Village, "In this University, we study subjects such as international trade and international banking. At the core of these subjects lies the tie among people from different countries, therefore, it is important to understand the culture and traditions of people from different countries."

Terechine said he prefers to live on campus because it offers him benefits such as communication with other students and proximity to classes.

Like Terechine, Chantel Escobar, a freshman living at the University Village, said living on campus has its benefits.

"It's clean, safe and all the staff are friendly, you don't have to worry about a vehicle and computers are a few steps away," Escobar said.

Escobar, a native of Hebbronville, said that at the University Village, she has met students from as close as Zapata and from as far away as Albania.

"It's really interesting. You get to talk to these students about why they came to America," Escobar said, referring to the international students she has met.

Some of the features of the 250-bed, 84-unit University Village include bedrooms with capacity of up to four people, computers with Internet access, a laundry room, swimming pool and volleyball court.

For further information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326-2180 or call the University Village at 326-0160 or e-mail to uvillage@tamiu.edu. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu