by Claire Miller
Students from Sweden and the Netherlands who arrived in Atlanta a few weeks ago were not expecting the winter weather that hit the metro area in mid-January and postponed classes for a week.
In fact, part of the appeal of studying at Georgia State University’s College of Education was to be in a warm metropolis rather than a country where snow in the winter is a common occurrence.
But now that the snow has melted and classes have resumed, the students are ready to begin their semester in the College of Education.
“I’m really excited about the chance to take classes abroad,” said Cecilia Grönstrand, a student from Mälmo University in Sweden. “Atlanta is a big city and I’d like to see as much of it as possible.”
Grönstrand and her fellow exchange students were welcomed to the College of Education at its biannual International Student Welcome Reception on Jan. 19.
Coordinated by Yunkyung Chang-Hoffman and the COE Office of International Programs, the welcome reception takes place each fall and spring semester and gives exchange students and visiting scholars the opportunity to meet COE faculty, staff and representatives from GSU’s Office of International Affairs. In addition to opening its doors to students from Sweden and the Netherlands, the college also will see its students travel to China, Norway and Greece.
Chang-Hoffman, Joyce Many, COE executive associate dean of academic programs, and John Kesner, director of international programs for the college, were on hand to greet students and answer any questions they had about the university.
“The welcome reception will help international students feel comfortable with us from day one,” Chang-Hoffman said. “Knowing that they can rely upon us for assistance with their academic and cultural challenges as soon as they arrive will make the entire experience much more enjoyable and allow them to focus on their studies and cultural experience with less stress. Also, it is the perfect opportunity for us to get acquainted with the new students in a friendly atmosphere before academic activities commence.”
The exchange students will take on a number of academic projects this semester. Martin Jonsson of Mälmo University will be working closely with Many on his master’s thesis and his directed reading classes, while students like Barbara Smit of Hogeschool Arnhem en Nijmegen University in the Netherlands will be taking a variety of classes at the university.
Though these students will be focusing on their studies for the next few months, Kike Ehigiator, assistant director of the Program Development and Management unit of the GSU Office of International Affairs, hopes to see them take advantage of their new location and explore other travel opportunities.
“I hope that you get the chance to travel around while you’re here because that rounds out your global education,” Ehigiator said. “I also encourage you to tell your fellow classmates about your experiences in the College of Education, which will help these programs to grow.”
For more information about the COE’s international programs, visit http://education.gsu.edu/international.