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Although she longed for her loved ones and her home

in the Philippines, Milallos says that she has formed

many new friendships at IU Southeast. “My friends

are some of the craziest and nerdiest people I’ve met

in college, and to me, that’s just plain awesome,” she

says. “IU Southeast is a great place for students who

are striving to find that place where they belong.”

Echoing Milallo’s praise for the IU Southeast

community is Nigerian Anthony Ewurum. “IU

Southeast has so many people with beautiful hearts,”

he says. “Even when I was flooding the admissions

office with calls, everyone was very welcoming and

down-to-earth.”

Ewurum has been very involved on campus since he

arrived three years ago to study chemistry. “I try to

enjoy every moment, so I can bask in the realization

that I didn’t miss a thing,” he says, citing snowy

weather, his first Monster energy drink, and new

technology as some novel experiences. He considers

his involvement in the Crimson Crew, IU Southeast’s

student-orientation leaders, as his most iconic and

memorable experience so far. “The Crimson Crew

taught me that people might look and act different,

but ultimately we’re all the same.”

Despite IU Southeast’s most admirable qualities,

a few problems persist for international students.

Roshanthi Ekanayake, a mathematics major from Sri

Lanka, is no stranger to challenges. She confronted

a major obstacle that prevented her from attending

college: “I came here as my husband’s dependent

in 2011, and in the United States, we can’t work or

study under this dependent-visa type,” she explains.

Ekanayake decided to move back home to complete

general-education courses, and successfully began her

IU Southeast journey in the fall of 2013. Ekanayake

also has to tackle a common hindrance among

international students: language. “My mother tongue

is not English, so I face a lot of communication

problems. It’s getting better little by little.”

Leigh Ann Meyer, director of The Writing Center,

often helps international students like Ekanayake

who struggle to use English in writing assignments.

“I’ve heard it takes seven years of immersion in a

language to be able to use a college-level vocabulary,”

she says. “Students are often frustrated if they just

don’t have the words to write well.”

Fortunately, Meyer says, the administration

is recognizing the importance of supporting

international students and is discussing ways

to provide assistance. Meyer would like to see a

partnership grow between the Education Department

and the international students in order to provide

a teaching experience to the education majors and

tutors for international students. Meriem Memady,

an accounting major from Mauritania, agrees that

tutors would be very helpful. “I’m having a hard

time finding a tutor for a 300-level class; it seems the

school does not offer that,” she says. “That’s the only

challenge I’m currently facing, but when I came to the

United States five years ago, I didn’t know a word of

English.” Memady became fluent by completing the

Intensive English as a Second Language program at

University of Louisville.

But without many resources presently available to

the international community at IU Southeast, some

students like Ekanayake must be proactive to find

additional language-learning opportunities. Meyer’s

advice is to “read a lot at the academic level, and have

lots of academic discussions with peers. And don’t be

afraid to ask for help; smart students always ask!”

Perhaps the most valuable lesson we, in turn, can

learn from our international students is to remember

how similar we are despite the miles that may

separate our homes. As Ewurum astutely observes,

“Diversity is really just a word.” Although we

celebrate our differences, it’s the universal similarities

that keep us connected and allow New Albany,

Indiana, to become someone’s new home away from

home.