Category Archives: International Student Spotlight

International Student Spotlight: Meet Abdoulahi

Have you ever wondered what Millersville University looks like from an international perspective? We asked Abdoulahi Taffa, a student from Niger who has been studying at Millersville this past semester, about his experiences.  Continue reading to gain some insight into Abdoulahi’s time here as a student at Millersville University!

Abdoulahi

Name: Abdoulahi Taffa

Age: 27

Home country: Niger

Home university: Abdou Moumouni

Field of study: International Studies

Why did you decide to study in the United States, specifically at Millersville University?

I always wanted to visit America because in my country we are influenced by American culture, we watched American movies and listen to their music. When I had the opportunity to come I decided to come. I spent 3 years in Harrisburg and I got my associate degree from HACC. During my last semester at HACC I came for a campus tour at Millersville University and I liked everything about the University so I decided to enroll.

What totally freaked you out prior to arriving at Millersville, but turned out to be no big deal?

What freaked me out before coming to Millersville is that I did not know anybody here and there were no students from my country at the university, but once I got here I felt like I was at home, everybody is nice and friendly.

What did you like best about Millersville and the United States?

What I like most about Millersville is the environment and the campus. People are nice and more than happy to help you. About United States, I like the education system and all of the opportunities available.

What is something you tried for the first time while you were studying in the States? Did you enjoy it? (it could be an activity, a type of food, etc)

What I tried for the first time while studying in the States is cooking, I never cooked in my life before coming to the States. I enjoy it sometimes.

What food or drink do you miss most from Niger?

The food I miss most from my country is Tchep (rice and fish).

What are you most looking forward to when you return home?

Spending as much time as possible with my family, especially with my grandma, I miss her so much.  Of course I’m also looking forward to finding a good job to help my country develop with my experiences from the U.S.

What did you learn about yourself personally over the past year?

I learned over the past year, that I could be anything I want to be even the future President of my home country, why not?

What did you gain academically and/or professionally?

I gained leadership skills, I learned to speak and write in a very important language (English), and I also learned how to give speeches in public.

What is your dream job and why?

My dream job is to become a diplomat or to work for an international organization like the United Nations or UNICEF. I want to represent and serve my country internationally.

Why should other international students come to MU?

They should come to MU because there are many opportunities waiting for them. All the international students are having great experience at MU, we are all happy here.

Abdoulahi with Dr. Anderson, President of Millersville University and Dr. Prabhu, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Celebration of International Education hosted by the Office of Global Education and Partnerships
Abdoulahi with Dr. Anderson, President of Millersville University and Dr. Prabhu, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Celebration of International Education hosted by the Office of Global Education and Partnerships

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Student Spotlight – Meet Seth!

 

 

International Student Spotlight – Meet Seth Sekinini!

Have you ever considered what Millersville University looks like from an international perspective? We asked Seth, an exchange student from our partner institution the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, what it is like to experience Millersville University as an international student. Continue reading to learn more about Seth’s time here!

Name: Seci (Seth) Sekinini
Age: Over 30
Hometown: Suva City, Fiji
Home university: University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
Field of study: International Relations, Politics, Comparative Studies & Law
Languages: Fijian, English, Hindi, French, Tongan and Urdu
Instruments you play: Ukulele

What did you learn academically/professionally over the past semester?

Anything is possible and why is that? The American attitude has gotten into me that you have to create your own opportunity from working hard. With that I have discovered that I love Greek Mythology and Philosophy…Of course the quality of the delivery by my teachers and professors has influenced this, Dr Joshua Fischel – He is great, a great facilitator and passionate. Dr Adam Lawrence – Such a pragmatist and knowledgeable and always insisting that you know the answer. Dr R. Bookmiller – Wise teacher and very diplomatic, he has a vast depth of experience.


Seth (right) with one of his Rugby teammates at an event for breast cancer awareness.

What is something you tried for the first time while you were studying abroad in the States? Did you enjoy it?

Playing rugby at College level in a World Cup Year, it was so moving and so surreal to see the passion that Americans have for this game and going away with them, your brothers in arms so loyal to their University. The comradery a group of students from a far-away place playing a minority game and loving it was so heartfelt and moving. I felt like I belonged and they welcomed me with open arms and respect and then to go and play teams like YALE was the leveler….who would have known that with our passion, a small state budgeted team would beat an Ivy League School in these United States?

What totally worried you prior to arriving at Millersville, but turned out to be no big deal?

Squirrels…just kidding! HAHAHA! And yes meeting President Anderson on his push bike as he rides around campus, USC is big in sustainable innovative studies and climate change, so that was respect right there….LOL! He even directed me to the Brookes Oval and he knew his Rugby.

Why should other international students come to MU?

In my field of studies, Washington D.C. is a stone throw away as well as New York City and Gettysburg. Of course Philly as they say is right there in my new adopted home state, Pennsylvania. We all know what Philly is known for… the creation of the United States of America! The Liberty Bell, etc…the rest is history! But seriously,  MU is a big but small Uni for those coming from overseas, it’s not small and it’s not too big, here people remember your name, that’s great, they go out of their way to know you and of course you are always made welcome and you never run out of friends. The history is my fascination as I love architecture and the school buildings. It’s so amazing, they have a lovely art program and I am a big fan of the Music and Art faculty and attend some of their concerts.

We heard that you attended a benefit for diseases affecting the Amish population. Could you please tell us a little more about that experience and how you came to be interested in that subject?

Governance! The Amish people have always been portrayed in the Pacific and Australia as peace loving people, but not very modern because of their way of life and religious beliefs. This associates very well to the Indigenous population of Australia and Fiji. The experience was a dream come true to witness their way of life, lifestyle, culture and see the progress they have attained so far without sacrificing their belief, faith and customary practices. I am able to draw a parallel between this and the Fijian and Australian Aboriginal Indigenous Population, which are groups with which I associate myself. Hence this is an area of interest to look at a peace loving people of the Amish and consider myself fortunate and honored to be at such a noble gathering.

What is your dream job? Why?

Well I have been earmarked for our foreign office back at home and while I was here I was doing weekend experiences at the Washington Embassy for Fiji and also for our UN (United Nations) Fiji Rep office during the UN GA (General Assembly) but am hoping that one day I can return for homecoming parade at MU as a Secretary of State for Fiji or Minister for Foreign Affairs, that would be nice and anything is possible. Such exchanges that we are talking about today is already soft diplomacy at work where we exchange ideas, way of life, lifestyle and through such partnerships MU & USC (University of the Sunshine Coast) has participated in healing the world or bridging our nations with peace & prosperity.



International Student Spotlight – Meet Ismail Bennani

It’s time for another International Student Spotlight! Have you ever thought of what Millersville looks like from an international student’s perspective? Meet Ismail, one of our exchange students from our partner institution, l’Université de Caen in Caen, France. Read more to find out what Ismail has to say about his experience thus far at Millersville!

Name: Ismail Bennani

Age: 24 years old

Hometown: France

Home university: Université de Caen – Partner Institution

Field of study: Management and International Business

 

Why did you decide to study abroad in the United States, specifically at Millersville University?                          

I always wanted to study in the United States. It is a huge country that I have never visited before. The education has a good reputation. Also this experience will help me improve my English.

I Choose Millersville because it is one of the universities that have an exchange program with my home university

What is the coolest place you visited while studying abroad?

Actually, I liked Miami and DC. These are the most beautiful cities I have visited in the USA.
What is the biggest cultural difference between Caen and Millersville?

I believe that the biggest cultural difference between Caen and Millersville is behaviors of the students. In Millersville, I can speak to everybody. The students are very friendly and open minded. Instead, Caen’s students are very distant and it is very difficult for a foreigner to have friends.

What are you most looking forward to when you return home?

I would like to spend a lot of time with my family, my friends and my girlfriend. Also, I would like to eat French food because I miss it so much.

What did you gain academically and/or professionally?

It was a challenge for me to study in English because it is my fourth foreign language. Also, the classes are different from my home university. Therefore, it was very interesting and challenging to study in Millersville

What food or drink do you miss most from France?

I miss Red wine and la raclette (potatoes with cheese)

What travel plans do you want to make next?

I am willing to go to the west coast after the end of the classes. I would like to visit Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

What did you like best about Millersville and the United States?

I really appreciate the life in the university because there are a lot of activities in Millersville. Also the best thing in the USA is that there are a lot of big cities to visit.

 

International Student Spotlight – Meet Sandra and Yuki

Have you ever considered what Millersville University looks like from an international perspective? Sandra and Yuki, from our partner universities in Spain and Japan, have been exchange students at Millersville this past semester.We asked these two students to give us an insight into what it is like to experience Millersville University as an exchange student. Read on to find out what Sandra and Yuki had to say about their time here as a Millersville Student!

 

Sandra Albo Basurto

Name: Sandra Albo Basurto

Age: 25

Hometown: Burgos, Spain

Home university: Universidad de Burgos

Field of study: Humanities (History and Cultural Heritage)

 

Sandra what did you experience in Millersville that would never have happened at home in Spain?

Living on campus, in a dorm and participating in all the activities.

 

Why should other international students come to MU?
It offers a wide range of opportunities. Professors are really helpful as well as Millersville students, always ready to help you and interested in your culture. It is conveniently located but you can focus in your studies better than in a big city. Live in dorms is special and the campus is great when it’s good weather.

 

What is something you tried for the first time while you were studying abroad in the States?
Joining a club in the university. It’s been a great experience. I’ve met so many people and participated in different activities. I joined Amnesty International Chapter in MU.  We went to the National Conference of Amnesty in Chicago where I learnt a lot. I went to that with other American students.

National Amnesty Conference, Chicago

 

What travel plans do you want to make next?

I’m travelling the northeast coast after the end of the semester with a couple of international friends and after that…who knows! I would love to work abroad or in something that allows me to meet people all over the world.

 

What did you gain academically and/or professionally?

I’ve learnt to express myself better even if I am not in my comfort zone or in my own culture and make other ones understand the differences. I’ve also chosen subjects that challenge me.

 

 

What was one thing you did abroad that put you outside of your comfort zone that you never thought you would do?

Talk English in front of an audience. I guess is cliché but using your second language in public speech could be scary.

 

Is there a special moment you will always look back on that captures how you feel about your study abroad experience at MU?

Having lunch or dinner with all my friends in the Upperdeck between classes. As simple as that, my experience is about the wonderful people I’ve met here including internationals, MU students, staff and teachers.

 

Sandra with other international exchange students on an easter egg hunt

 

Yuki Matsuo

Name:  Yuki Matsuo

Age:  21

Hometown:  Fukuoka City, Japan

Home university: Kansai Gaidai

Field of study: English Education

 

Yuki, why did you decide to study abroad in the United States, specifically at Millersville University?

I have heard that  Millersville has very good educational course!

 

What did you experience in Millersville that would never have happened at home in Japan?

Living in a dormitory, a lot of discussion, a lot of diversity, a lot of internationals. I had a very good experience here in terms of interacting with many people from many kinds of different ethnicities.

 

What totally freaked you out prior to arriving at Millersville, but turned out to be no big deal? 

I was only one Japanese exchange student to go to Millersville, so I was worried whether I can make friends with other international students and Americans. After arriving here, many people were warm. I was totally relieved.

 

Yuki with friends

What did you gain academically and/or professionally?

Teaching knowledge. Teaching strategies. I gained many things about teaching reading, writing, English with media and film, English to ESL, and multicultural literature. I could gain a lot of knowledge from various fields about education. Especially, I learned how teachers’ attitude towards students is important in the classroom.

 

Yuki giving a presentation to her class

 

What is the biggest cultural difference between Kansai Gaidai University and Millersville? 

How warm teachers are. Teachers at Millersville were so nice and always supported me in spite of not knowing of me. And they always gave me a lot of opportunities to challenge new things.

 

What are you most looking forward to when you return home?

To make use of my ability which I nurture by myself here, especially in educational places. I will have teaching practicum right after going back to Japan and I have to actually organize lesson plan and teach English for 50 minutes to real high school students in my home high school. That is the opportunity to make use of my knowledge and ability to teach English which I learned here.

 

What did you learn about yourself personally over the past year? 

I learned how I am silent and build a wall between I and other people. This is cultural thing, but I could noticed that again.  Americans are always so nice to people even though they are strangers. But I cannot do that immediately like Americans do because Japanese tend to keep a distance between people even though they are family or friends. Besides, Americans are so positive in class. I sort of could not catch up with their positive attitudes in the class because I think I was afraid of telling teachers or classmates my opinion because of my English ability.  Also, I learned how much I want to be a teacher in the future. Teachers and friends always encouraged me here and I really enjoyed educational courses here.

 

Why should other international students come to MU?

 To Seize the Opportunity!

International Student Spotlight – Ewan McCall

Have you ever considered what Millersville University looks like from an international perspective? Ewan McCall, from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, has been an exchange student at Millersville for the 2012-2013 academic school year. During his time at Millersville, Ewan has studied as a Music major, discovered tasty Philly cheesesteaks, and has even seen the Macy’s Day Parade in New York. He will soon be returning home to the University of Strathclyde , one of Millersville’s partner universities, and we will miss him dearly! Before he leaves, however, Ewan has graciously taken time to share his experience and impressions of Millersville with us—read on to see his answers!

The Basics –

Name: Ewan McCall
Age: 20
Hometown: Dumfries, Scotland
Home university: University of Strathclyde
Field of study: Music Major

Fast Facts –

Instruments you play: Vocal (Baritone) and Alto/ Soprano Saxophone
Favorite American food: Philly Cheesesteak, Cheesecake Factory, Wawa etc.
Favorite extracurricular activity at Millersville: Keystone Singers/ Jazz Ensemble/ (my own funk band) Chaos Thompson!

Why did you decide to study abroad in the United States, specifically at Millersville University?

I decided to study at Millersville for several reasons. I knew that the Music department had just undergone a multi-million redevelopment and that several of the music lecturers at Millersville were highly regarded. Millersville was also well positioned geographically. It is so easy to get to and from Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and New York – and from the moment I arrived and was greeted by such friendly people, I knew I had chosen the right university!

What totally freaked you out prior to arriving at Millersville, but turned out to be no big deal?

I thought I was the only Scottish person coming to Millersville, but on arrival I found out that not only was everyone really warm and welcoming, but there were also 3 other Scottish students who had come over to MU from Strathclyde. This put me completely at ease about staying in such a beautiful, relaxed, and friendly environment.

What is something you tried for the first time while you were studying abroad in the States? Did you enjoy it?

Ranch dressing, frozen yogurt, Whoopee pies, Shoo-fly pie, authentic Philly Cheesesteak the Cheesecake Factory, Wawa, studying Solfege (intensive music theory) and wearing a tuxedo. I enjoy ANY food so these all of these went down a treat! I also loved looking very dapper in a Tux. However, with studying Solfege, funnily enough I wasn’t so keen… however, being educated in Solfege will be invaluable to me as a well-rounded musician.

What is the coolest place you visited while studying abroad?

Visiting California and New York (specifically the Macy Day Parade!). It seemed like everything was a new experience for me!

What did you experience in Millersville that would never have happened at home in Scotland?

MU homecoming, an American football game, seeing squirrels daily, singing in my first opera, and learning the American slang y’all!

The social aspect of being regularly and openly invited to other people’s houses, rather than going out on the town each time you wanted to meet up with someone.

What is the biggest cultural difference between Strathclyde and Millersville?

I think the way that MU students show that they are very proud of both their national and social heritage is the biggest cultural difference. Daily lives seem to revolve much more proudly and freely around university here at Millersville than back home. I think the British attitude to university is that it is a stepping stone in our lives, helping us get to where we want to end up, rather than an epoch. Everyone also drives on the wrong side of the road here at MU!

What are you most looking forward to when you return home?

Being able to socially drink again!

What did you gain academically and/or professionally?

I gained a tremendous amount of musical experience and new-found knowledge. I believe I managed to accomplish as much as I possibly could in the short year that I had. I tried to be as versatile as possible during my time here at MU, learning how to perform as a sound engineer, an entrepreneur, a musician, and an educator.

What did you learn about yourself personally over the past year?

I learned that I can be a more motivated, positive individual and become much more independent when I put my mind to it.