By Abigail Loop
The Center of International Education at Baylor is giving international students the opportunity to further broaden their knowledge of Texas by taking a one day tour of Houston.
International students who attend will take a bus to Houston on Saturday and will go to the NASA Space Center, Kemah Boardwalk and explore downtown.
Melanie Smith, International Student Relations Coordinator, said the trip is a great way for international students to become more acquainted with American culture, discover career options at NASA, and connect with other international students.
“The tour of NASA is amazing for our international students,” Smith said. “It makes these students knowledgeable about U.S space history and is great for the MIS and engineering majors who go on the trip. It makes it not only fun by going to the Kemah boardwalk, but very educational as well by taking a tour of NASA.”
Smith said all international students are invited to attend and also bring a U.S. student patron along with them. A student patron is a person who commits to a one-year partnership with an international student. The center has enough student patrons for this semester, but students can apply to become a student U.S. patron next semester by filling out an application on the Center of International Education’s website.
“Students can bring someone with them, whether it’s a member of their PAWS family or a U.S. partner,” Smith said. “The last four years we’ve done this trip and it has always been successful. We’re hoping for that this year as well.”
The Center of International Education offers multilple field trips during semsesters, most of them being to Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.
San Diego senior Hayley Gibson, a student worker for the Center of International Education, went on the Houston trip last year.
“I think this trip gives a cool insight to American culture to international students,” Gibson said. “It gives people a chance to see more than Waco. When I went, it was nice to share experiences with these students and talk to people from different countries.”
Smith and Gibson both agreed that the main goal of the field trip is to help international students acclimate to their new surroundings and also show off the great aspects of America.
“It’s my job to point out the outstanding things about our country to these students,” Smith said. “I think it’s so important to enhance our international students’ studies, culture, and provide them with a history of America.”
Former Baylor student Alvina Hung, who’s from Hong Kong and attended Baylor as a junior, said she believes that the tours provided by the Center of International Education made her want to return to America to see even more places.
“The International Center always arranged different tours for international students and I believe every one of them can broaden our exposure to the American culture,” Hung said. “I had the chance to visit Dallas and San Antonio; I learned about the Texan culture. I wish to come to the States again one day and explore more American culture.”
Lagos, Nigeria, junior Temitope Ode said she thinks International students can learn more about Texas by simply interacting with members of the community.
“By attending Baylor, I have grown in many ways and I have developed strong relationships with students, teachers, and other Baylor employees,” Ode said. “Students need to be able to mingle more with Texans and learn about the culture through those interactions.”
International students have until Wednesday to sign up for the trip by going to www.baylor.edu/cie and registering online. Students can also visit the Center for International Education that is located at Polk Library or contact Melanie Smith at Melanie_Smith@baylor.edu for more information.