They are small in number, but large in spirit. Seventeen students who’ve traveled all the way from India for the opportunity to study at ECPI University. They’re seeking a Master’s degree in Information Systems but they are also getting a cultural education as well.
“Ever since we arrived, our advisors have taken care of every detail,” says Karthik Muthyala. “The Southern hospitality has been awesome!”
Whether it has been helping them find places to shop, setting up bank accounts or phone service, campus advisors have been there to make sure no detail is left unattended. International Director of Admissions Stephanie Benson is now referred to as “Mom” and has been with these students since the very beginning. “I have enjoyed every moment,” says Ms. Benson. “They are so eager to learn and their enthusiasm rubs off on everyone around them!”
Dr. Bill Warner has seen that in his own classroom.
“They are extremely committed to doing the very best they can,” says Dr. Warner. “They check and double-check everything they do. At first, I was not sure that I was getting through to them. When I asked if they understood something, I would see their heads go back and forth as if to say ‘no.’ I soon discovered that in India, this is how you communicate to someone that you do indeed understand what they are saying!”
Student Sonali Thakur says this is the first time she has experienced hands-on education. “In India, teachers give you a text book, tell you to read it, and at the end of the semester there’s a test,” she says. “Here at ECPI University, we are working together as a team and applying what we learn. It has been really wonderful.”
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Beyond the classroom, the students have enjoyed some other first-time experiences as well, including snow. “It is very hot where I come from, says Karthik. “The cool weather has been so nice and seeing snow for the first time was exciting!” After outings to a bowling alley and a local shopping mall, the group is now looking forward to visiting Washington, DC and – when the temperature begins to rise – the beach.
These special guests will remain on campus for about one more year, and while they are here they contribute by their mere presence. “They open up the world to every student on campus,” says Ms. Benson.
“All of our graduates will go on to work in a global economy and being around people from other cultures expands their mindset, and that’s a good thing.”