Published: May 10, 2011
With their cameras recording the whole performance, the international crowd of
EducationUSA Advisors sat in awe while Music Professor Haig Mardirosian, dean of
the College of Arts and Letters, introduced them to his favorite instrument –
The crowd seated in the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and
Values was experiencing one facet of collegiate life for international students
studying abroad in the U.S. The performance was part of a week-long visit that
includes tours of the University of South Florida and Hillsborough Community
“This event is important for building our international focus
and competence on campus,” said Provost Janet McNew.
advising centers are supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
at the U.S. Department of State. The 22 advisors come from countries around the
world including Benin, India, Senegal, Togo, Italy and Colombia. The group
arrived in Tampa on Sunday, May 8, and will travel to all three campuses for
experiential education before leaving May 13.
“It’s a great way to
showcase the University while also making sure our international students will
be supported fully before choosing to study here,” said Kristy Ramos,
international student services advisor and institutional coordinator for the
trip. “It also shows UT’s commitment to a diverse, international
As part of their visit at UT, the advisors spoke with current
international students about their experiences at UT, they heard about campus
life from Assistant Director of Civic Engagement Megan Frisque and learned about
the ESL program and toured several academic departments with faculty.
idea is to help the advisors find the best fit for their students.
DaPonte, UT’s director of International Admissions, likens it to a garden. The
seeds are selected for the soil type, amount of sun received and the climate.
Once nurtured, the right seeds can produce flowers and vegetables in
“In this case, the seeds are students and the perfect garden
becomes the university and the perfect match for each student,” DaPonte
Prior to coming to Tampa, the advisors spent one week in
Washington, D.C. in workshops and sessions at the Department of State learning
about American higher education. This is the first year the Institute of
International Education, which runs EducationUSA as well as programs like
Fulbright, has partnered with the Department of State to offer this intensive
professional development program.