Mississippi College Welcomes International Visitors
September 18, 2012
Mississippi College visitors quickly discover the Christian university is a cultural hub of students from all parts of the globe.
MC’s 227 international students this fall traveled thousands of miles from home to receive a first-rate education on Mississippi soil. Their native lands are places like China, Saudi Arabia, India, Nepal, Germany and other distant spots around the world.
The international students are a vital component of the 5,145 MC students enrolled this fall, and show that America’s second oldest Baptist-affiliated institution has a far-reaching global appeal.
What do they like about the university in Clinton?
“Mississippi College is a Christian university and the people here are very hospitable and kind,” says Wenying Gao, 23, a native of China. In December, she will wrap up her four years at MC with a bachelor’s degree in business.
Mississippi College “has really cool teachers who make the lessons interesting and make you want to work hard,” says graduate student Mohammed Alramadhan, 25, a native of Saudi Arabia. Attracted by the university’s health service administration program, he’s making plans to launch his own health business and become a millionaire by age 40.
One of 13 Saudi students from a Middle East nation that’s headquarters of the world’s largest oil fields, Alramadhan is enjoying the warmth of Southern hospitality thousands of miles from home. The Ohio Northern University graduate expects to receive his master’s degree in December.
Saudi students are outnumbered at MC by those from India and China.
Devanshi Trivedi is also on track to receive her master’s degree in public relations and corporate communication from Mississippi College in December.
Growing up in the city of Ahmedabad, India that’s bursting with more than two million people, Devanshi feels at home in less congested Central Mississippi. Clinton, she says, is “peaceful and nice. I like the professors and everybody at MC is helpful, especially at the international center.”
A vegetarian, Devanshi wishes there were more Indian restaurants in the Jackson area, but has no complaints about the MC education she’s getting in a welcoming environment. “It makes a difference seeing people from our country. We have family and friends in Mississippi.”
The 28-year-old is building professional skills enabling her to return to India in a couple of years and promote her father’s chemicals business.
MC senior Christopher Gruning, 21, of Fort Myers, Florida loves seeing international students on the Clinton campus. “You see life from a different perspective,” says the Student Government Association vice president. “It helps enforce the melting pot atmosphere of the United States.”
There were just nine international students enrolled when President Lee Royce arrived as the school’s leader in July 2002. Overall enrollment has climbed, too, with the latest 5,145 student head count growing by 60 percent since Royce began his presidency.
International students say what makes Mississippi College so inviting is the chance to receive a first-rate education at an affordable cost. “I feel good about Mississippi College,” says Chen Xiaochuan, a native of China who’s working on a bachelor’s degree in business.
International students at MC come from 23 different countries. Yanyu “Steven” Zhou, an 18-year-old chemistry major from China says life is good on American soil. “The life I have here at Mississippi College is totally different from what I had before in China,’’ he says. “The city is not crowded, flowers and trees are everywhere and the sky is blue. I have made a lot of friends, both American and Chinese students. We hang out together and have fun.”
The MC students from the USA are here from 39 states, with the biggest percentage coming from Mississippi.
MC senior Rebekah Way, 21, of Richland, is happy she selected Mississippi College after finishing her first two years at Hinds Community College. “The college is centered around Christian values and has a beautiful campus close to home,” says the accounting major. ”They also offer great scholarship opportunities. Mississippi College is one of a kind where everyone feels like family.”
Her home in Midland, Texas, is a 12-hour road trip for junior Stephanie McLaughlin. But the 23-year-old biochemistry major, who first came to Mississippi as a Ballet Magnificat trainee, found she’s at the right place. “I have awesome friends. The people around here are serving the Lord.”
The chance to play football for the Choctaws opened doors for MC junior Zach Ferger, 21, of Mandeville, Louisiana to come to the Clinton campus. The biology major hasn’t regretted the decision. “I stayed because of the education.” He remembers the encouragement from head football coach Norman Joseph that convinced him to consider MC. “Coach Joseph says it’s the hidden gem of the South.”