International Student Ambassadors, Winter 2017. From top, left to right: ( Adedotun Ojelabi, Nickxit Bhardwaj,
Nasser Al saeed, Jun Hyuk, Zainab Alradhi, Radhika Agarwal, Menusha Arumugam, and Zena Elkady.)
The year is 2014. When Patriece Campbell spoke to me at the end of a variety show, hosted at the University's KIVA. I was taking pictures for my own personal enthusiasm that night, when she put it direct and simple, "You should be part of our team. You are already doing the job, how about get paid for it?" Patrice used to work at the international center (IC) of the University of Michigan as an associate director, and the team she was referring to was the international student ambassadors' team. The ambassadors' team is a diverse group of bright minds, talented, passionate, and involved individuals.
I gave her words a lot of thought, and my biggest concern was that this job might interfere with my academic achievement. After few weeks, I decided to take the challenge, and get myself out of its comfort zone, and applied for the job. After sending my resume and cover letter, I got an email confirming a job interview date with Malin Andreasson Clark and Kelly Wagner, who was my amazing supervisor-to-be. I was super excited about the interview, yet I did not have anything to expect or refer to. Few days later, I was interviewed, asked about my strengths, my weaknesses, my goals that I wished to achieve, what would I be adding to the team, and why ME?
Not so much later, I got another email stating that I got the job, and from then, I was the ambassador, and the first to work while in school among my family members!
Fall 2016. International Center staff members.
Throughout my years of working at the international center, I gained so much knowledge and experiences I would have never had anywhere else. Our mission started way before an international student steps a foot on an U.S airport, but since they are home. Once a student arrive, they are not left alone! My team and I enjoy orientation days, where we get to share our experiences, get to know new people, make new friends, and share our knowledge of the university, and the city. We gave tours, eased homesickness, learned words and names in different languages, and did so much more!
Fall 2016 Orientation City Tour with wonderful International Students.
Our goal was to make everyone feel home and welcomed; therefore, we started our cultural events planning committees to celebrate cultural events from all around the world. The IC hosted numerous of cultural events that intended to not only give the international students a taste of home, but also to build a bridge between the global student population we have on campus. Events like Diwali, Holi, Chinese Lunar New Year, and Eid are well attended by both students and faculty members, where you can witness the students' passion to share their culture, and the guests' excitement to learn more.
Lunar New Year 2016. Crafting Table.
Diwali Nigh 2015. A group of Indian Students performing a cultural dance.
This job had helped me connect with different people from all around the world, with all different backgrounds. I got the chance to be interviewed by Gordon Young, a NewYork Times reporter, during his visit to Flint. I got to connect with different departments on campus and the amazing scholars that lead them. I learned so much about marketing and social media, and even though I am not yet a professional photographer, I have developed my photography skills drastically, which motivates me to keep going. It makes my day when someone randomly stops me in a hallway just to thank me for a picture I took of them!
Having my name written in different languages during the 2016 TasteFest.
My team was always fresh, where there would always be new blood in it, with new ambassadors joining, and others graduating, or moving on with their adventure. Every single one of them had added so much to my life. Each ambassador is unique in her/his own way. We shared good times, embarrassing times, and laughter, yet we also experienced lose, homesickness, and tears. What made it all worthwhile was that we passed it together.
To more great moments!
International Student Ambassadors, Winter 2015. From top, left to right: (Akash Vardhan, Yujin Kang, Ayana Ghosh, Neelam Arun Gire, Anqi Hu, Menusha Arumugam, Zainab Alradhi, Xuanrong Lu, and Zena Elkady.)