As the new academic year gets underway, the campus is seeing its largest influx of new international students in more than ten years as 14 students from eight different countries are among the latest flock of Duhawks.
Eleven of the students are first-year students, with the remaining three transferring from other schools. They proudly represent their home countries of Colombia, England, Ethiopia, Greece, Guatemala, Liberia, Nepal, and Spain.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still prevalent around the globe, the students needed to incorporate a quarantine period before they arrived on campus, so they began arriving in the United States as early as August 1 as they prepared for orientation on August 24. They had a week together before classes started to get used to their new surroundings.
“It has been so fun to see them bonding,” Samantha Garcia-Bracho (’20), admission representative, said. “From the way they are connecting so quickly, you can tell they will have these friends for the rest of their lives.”
In some cases, they have come to Loras based on referrals, others for athletics and even more through Internet searching. The common denominator for all is how welcome they have felt since their first interaction. While other schools have been in contact with them, the personalized interactions they received from Loras have been vital in leading them to pursue their degrees at the College and making them comfortable enough to call Dubuque their second home.
Even as these 14 students settle into their new home away from home, Garcia-Bracho is helping six more prepare to arrive for the spring semester due to a more conscious effort to be more accessible to international students. That commitment is helping prospective students decide to come to Loras and gain that unique community experience that only the College can offer.
“Having the students arrive on campus has been a joyful experience. Seeing them get together and adapt to Loras has been awesome. I know from spending time with them that they will all succeed in their own ways,” Garcia-Bracho said.