International students to get taste of authentic Texas culture
By Ian Currie
This Friday, students from 73 countries will spend an evening soaking in the cultural experience of a Texas ranch.
For the third year, the Baylor Center for International Education will organize the semester-ending Texas Ranch Party, hosted at Faith Rest Ranch in Crawford.
The ranch is owned and run by Alan Stover, director of environmental compliance at Baylor, and his wife Pam.
The event organizer, Melanie Smith, international student relations coordinator at Baylor, said the ranch is the perfect place.
“The ranch is set up to entertain large groups,” Smith said. “It is the most attended event of the year and the ranch gives students a chance to see Texas at its best.”
The students will ride by bus from campus to the ranch at 5 p.m. Friday, where they will take part in activities designed to give international students an authentic Texas experience.
There will be hayrides and an opportunity to see and interact with many animals on the ranch, including horses and chickens.
“We have a working farm area as well as an indoor arena where you can pet some horses and hand feed cows,” Mr. Stover said.
He said there are also recently hatched chicks as well as two miniature horses born last year that will be at the event.
The event will continue with a cookout, square dance lessons and western dancing and at dusk the students will cook s’mores around a campfire.
This event is the final event that the Center for International Exchange organizes for students in the spring semester.
“It is the time to say goodbye to exchange students and graduating international students,” Smith said.
Brazil senior Daniela Souza said she is looking forward to the cultural experience.
“I am excited about the ranch party because I get to share some of Texas culture with my international friends,” Souza said.
The ranch is also used as the center for non profit organization “Moment by Moment Growth and Learning,” run by Mrs. Stover, which offers counseling for trauma victims using equine-assisted counseling methods, which incorporates the use of horses to help people accomplish emotional growth and learning.
Recently the Stovers and their organization have been working with members of the West community who are in need of counseling following last year’s fertilizer plant explosion.
Mr. Stover, who is an ordained minister, said the ranch is a ministry for him.
“It is an opportunity to share what God has blessed us with, the whole cycle of life, with other people and cultures,” he said.