Hannah Stelitano | Staff Writer
The thought of traveling to a completely different country to attend college seems extremely frightening, but luckily, at Duquesne, many international students strive to embrace diversity and appreciate other cultures through the International Students Organization.
Duquesne University is globally known as a great school for international students, which is why more than 500 students in both graduate and undergraduate schools from over 85 different countries attend school here.
The International Students Organization (ISO) is one of the largest student organizations on campus. This group holds weekly events that allow students to share their traditions to help showcase their different cultures.
Whether you are an international student and want a group of people you can relate to or a local student who wants to learn more about other cultures, anyone is welcome to attend an ISO event.
Saskya Hector, ISO president said taking on this leadership role has allowed her to open up more opportunities to international students at Duquesne as well as push herself to expand her personal horizons.
“By being in ISO, I am able to make campus, even if it is once a month, feel like home for me and other international students through our events,” Hector said.
Hector grew up in Haiti but came to Duquesne to expand her academic career.
“Before Duquesne I was someone who was afraid to take risks and hid myself behind my routines. By leaving Haiti and coming here to the U.S. for college, I was able to get out of my comfort zone and became a better version of myself,” Hector said.
The ISO allows for all international students to get together to share their stories of things that may seem normal in their culture but are frowned upon here.
Veronica Cabellos, vice president of the ISO, said coming to a college in the U.S. has many differences in the aspect of living situations.
In Columbia, where Cabellos grew up, colleges did not have dorm rooms. When she first saw the room that she was to live in for the next nine months, Cabellos was in complete shock.
The room was nothing like she expected, and she had a hard time preparing what to bring since she had to fly here.
“When stepping into my dorm room for the first time, it felt like I was in prison,” Cabellos said.
Cherise Dicke, an international student from South Africa, said how not only the campus at Duquesne, but also the city of Pittsburgh itself made her transition here so easy.
Although it was extremely difficult leaving her family, Dicke made the most of it by keeping herself occupied by the many events the city offers.
Dicke is also a member of Duquesne’s rowing team, which highlights one of the many ways the university is able to bring in more international students through sports.
“I knew I wanted to pursue rowing in the United States so I went through a recruiting agency and ended up being recruited by Duquesne,” Dicke said.
Sports are a huge attraction at Duquesne, so by recruiting in other countries, Duquesne allows more international students to explore it as an option to further their education.
If you are not looking to pursue a sport, Duquesne is also on Common App, which also allows international students to find the university.
“I knew I wanted to go to school in the U.S. since the rankings here were better. When I applied filters on the Common App, Duquesne came up, and I loved the website,” Cabellos said.
International students also find Duquesne through family generations.
“Twenty years ago, my father came to Duquesne University for a one-year program. He had an amazing time during this year, and because of that I included Duquesne in my choices for universities,” Hector said.