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New International Students Connect with Mississippi College Leaders

Global Education Office Director Mei-Chi Piletz
Global Education Office Director Mei-Chi Piletz

A Zoom meeting reduced the thousands of miles between new international students and leaders at Mississippi College.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom meetings are an effective way to communicate from one day to the next. Fall classes begin on the Clinton campus August 17.

MC Global Education Office director Mei-Chi Piletz was delighted with the enthusiasm of the new students from across the world.

Yilin Xue, a graduate student in music performance and conducting from China, summed up the attitudes of the newcomers.

“I feel the administration at MC is so friendly and caring,” Xue said. “I can’t wait to see my professors either! I feel so at home here!”

The Zoom meeting was staged at historic Provine Chapel to give students a glimpse of one of the Christian university’s venerable landmarks. Mississippi College’s oldest building, the chapel opened in 1860.

As Mississippi College begins its 195th year, Piletz is supportive of the many ways the Christian university is adjusting during this health emergency in 2020. New health protocols are in place – from wearing masks to social distancing.

“We will not leave our international students behind even when they could not join us during COVID-19,” Piletz said. “We were so pleased that our first Zoom orientation made them feel inclusive and part of MC.”

Office of Global Education staff along with faculty and administrators always go the extra mile for international students. Taking part in the Zoom meeting this week were 23 new students from 15 nations. New countries represented in the group are from Malawi and Macedonia.

Piletz sees a Mississippi College community that warmly reaches out to international students, whether it’s a health emergency or not.

“I’d like to see MC be a beacon of hope and a shining example for the rest of the country when we work hard to further His kingdom despite the pandemic.”

At the moment, there are over 20.9 million COVID-19 cases around the globe.

Taking part in the Zoom meeting while seated in Provine Chapel pews, associate provost Debbie Norris noted international students bring so much to the university community.

Each Spring, students from China, India and other lands showcase their talents in an International Festival on the Clinton campus. Year-round, they build lasting friendships with MC students from across the USA.

“The group we oriented were from all over the world – what a blessing. They smiled and conversed with enthusiasm about joining MC,” Dr. Norris said.

The dean of MC’s Graduate School, Norris enjoyed the orientation along with the students.

Another longtime administrator, Jim Turcotte joined the session to introduce the newcomers to life at Mississippi College, his alma mater.

“My strongest impression was the international students are very excited about studying in the United States and at Mississippi College,” he said.

“During the phone call, there were very few concerns expressed – rather there was great excitement about starting this new chapter in their lives.”

Turcotte serves as vice president for enrollment services and executive director of alumni affairs. “I am very impressed with the quality of students that we continue to attract from around the world.”