A student look into an international experience

Editor's note: Vania Ibanez is a sophomore studying broadcast journalism and moved into the International House at Maxcy in the fall of 2015. She is from Charleston and hopes to become a TV network producer after graduation.

Living in the International House at Maxcy College is not only one of the best ways to be internationalized on campus, but it is also one of the most welcoming communities that the University of South Carolina has to offer. Not only did I receive the chance to be able to live in Maxcy, but with it also came the opportunity to expand my knowledge of different cultures, beliefs and values.

Extraordinary students travel from the other side of the world to the university to experience UofSC’s top ranked academic programs, like international business. Some of these students travel from as far as Australia and China. They bring their own spice to Maxcy’s melting pot.

I have had the opportunity to get to know a few of the international students living in Maxcy a little bit more. The four students I shared conversations with are those whose nationalities are not as greatly represented as others living in the international house: Mark Scott from Scotland, Andres Rangel from Venezuela, Laura Kock from Aruba, and Timothy Cawthorn from Australia. The university has something unique to offer to each of them.

For Andres Rangel, coming to the University of South Carolina made him feel secure. He says Venezuela is experiencing “terrible insecurity and a lot of crime.” Professors in public universities in Venezuela, Rangel says, don’t always put all their effort into teaching because their pay is not enough. Rangel has found the opposite to be true at UofSC. He has found a love for the Darla Moore School of Business, and it has helped him adjust to living in Columbia. Choosing to study here has made him appreciate the campus and Maxcy because he feels like part of an open community.

Laura Kock, says she immediately fell in love with the campus as soon as she set foot on the Horseshoe. “When my mom and I came a week before move in, our jaws dropped when we saw the Horseshoe,” Kock says. “We saw it online, but it’s even better in person.” She chose to attend the university in order to experience more freedom within the multiple majors given. Not only did she fall in love right away, Kock says she feels like she is in the right place, and as a result, she has chosen to be a full-time student for four years.

The Southern heat and the Darla Moore School of Business attracted Mark Scott to UofSC. Since Scotland experiences mostly cold weather, Mark wanted to dive into the South Carolina humid heat. Scott says that he enjoys the events that are put on almost every day by the faculty and hall government in the Maxcy house. One of his favorites, a Maxcy tailgate to introduce what tailgating was like to the international students, fascinated Scott. He got to experience the entire Carolina tailgating experience with barbecue, sweet tea and a game of corn hole.

Attending UofSC has been the typical, American college experience, according to Timothy Cawthorn. Cawhtorn says that one of his favorite aspects of the campus is being able to interact with friendly students. “Southern hospitality is a very real thing here,” he said. He also loves how everything is big: Williams-Brice Stadium, Strom Thurmond Fitness and Wellness Center and the university in general. Cawthorn also expressed how grateful he is to be able to live in Maxcy. It has given him the opportunity to meet other international students, like him, who want to explore and learn more about what UofSC has to offer.

Living in the International House of Maxcy can give anyone new perspectives and a respect for others. In the last few weeks, my knowledge of cultures has expanded from Southern hospitality and sweet tea to the Dutch school system used in Aruba, the value of an Australian dollar compared with the American dollar, the current economy in Venezuela and the way Scottish natives say “uh” instead of the word “of.”

UofSC has plenty of things to offer to these international students, but what the students offer in return is priceless.

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