Praise and Warm Goodbyes
Posted on May 19, 2011
Faculty and Staff
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Before they walked across the commencement stage or returned to their homelands to complete their degrees, Bridgewater State University's foreign exchange students were honored at the International Graduation and Farewell Celebration.
Certificates of achievement were awarded to 37 graduate and undergraduate exchange students from countries all over the world, including Belize, Cape Verde, China, Great Britain, Japan, Jordan and South Africa. Enrolled in a variety of programs, some students had stayed at the university for a semester, others for a few years.
The annual celebration aims to honor Bridgewater State University's international community for their academic achievements and contributions to campus. "It brings together like-minded souls in celebration," said Dr. Roopa Rawjee
, director of International Student Services (ISS).
In his remarks, Dr. Edward Minnock
, vice president for External Affairs, evoked one of Robert Frost's most famous poems to honor the exchange students, who chose to study in an unfamiliar culture. "You've taken the road less traveled," he told the large audience in the Council Chambers of the Rondileau Campus Center. "You took a risk, and I know it's one that was well worth it."
Several of the students delivered speeches about their experiences at the university.
An emotional Miyuki Abe
from Japan, who earned her bachelor's degree in economics, said Bridgewater friends helped her overcome a natural shyness. "They really broke me out of my shell," she said. "Based on what I've experienced, I'd like to encourage everyone to challenge themselves the same way."Joarel Chinguvo
, who will return to the University of Cape Verde to complete his bachelor's degree in public relations, discussed the obstacles and the cultural exchanges he experienced on campus. He said the university helped him prepare for his career. "I feel that Bridgewater has prepared me for the challenges I will face as a professional, as a person and as a student," he said.
Additional student speakers were: Kim Kirkwood
, from South Africa, and Lurleen Betson-Gamboa
, from Belize. This year saw the first three exchange students from Belize, who enrolled in the Master's of Education program.
Offering praise, Dr. Michael Kryzanek
, executive director of the Center for International Engagement, told the exchange students they bring diverse culture and enlightening perspectives to Bridgewater State University. "You enrich our campus community," he said. (Story and photos by Rob Matheson, '07, Office of Institutional Communications)