Opening Day is a part of Global Transition, a five-day program structured around helping undergraduate international students adjust, and is for many of its attendees the first step to starting college life in America. Including exchange students, there are 280 incoming international undergraduates this year, with 33 countries represented at Rose Hill and 46 countries represented at Lincoln Center.
Several Fordham student volunteers known as Global Transition assistants were out and about Martyrs Court on the hot summer morning—working the check-in tables, unloading moving boxes from cars, and passing out Fordham t-shirts and backpacks. As each new student entered the building, the volunteers warmly welcomed them in with a whooping cheer.
In the midst of the hectic day at Rose Hill, students from all over the world, including the Philippines, Egypt, and Bangladesh, expressed how excited they were to be at Fordham and in New York City.
Ria Avargerimath, a marketing and business administration major from Melbourne, Australia, was drawn to Fordham’s campus. “I really liked the campus. It gives you a campus feel, but you’re still really close to the main city and I just feel like there’s lots of opportunities nearby.”
Fordham’s campus was also a selling point for Lorena Mandarano, a biological sciences major originally from Rome, Italy, whose family now lives in Switzerland. “I love the community here. When I came here during spring preview, I just fell in love with the campus, with the people. They were so kind with me.”
For Jayanta “Jay” Saha, a computer science major from Dhaka, Bangladesh, Global Transition marked his first time in the Big Apple.
“When you are in a city that’s this lively, your mood just becomes ‘okay, this is the place I want to stay.’ When you think of New York, like this is the place I want to study. And it has ambiance and the mood to it,” said Saha.
Many students pondered being on their own for the first time.
Mandarano said, “I’ve never done laundry before in my entire life! I’m really looking forward to learn how to do that.”
And while the students agreed that their studies were paramount, they also said it was important for them to create memories.
Shilei Zhang, an accounting major from Beijing, China, expressed that “I want to meet more people and more friends. And I’m really excited to meet my roommate.”
Jaymee Francisco, an applied accounting and finance major from the Philippines, is excited for the sports scene at Fordham. “I’m into track and field and everything, so I was wanting to get into that. I might [try out] next year.”
Youssef Emara, from Cairo, Egypt, who received a scholarship to attend Fordham, said he felt fortunate to have been accepted. “I want to make the most of it, the American college experience. Lots of my friends back home couldn’t travel out of Egypt cause you know, circumstances. So, I’m grateful to be here and I want to make it count.”
For some Global Transition assistants, giving back is a way to keep the legacy going. Kanak Shah, GABELLI ‘21, started out her Fordham journey with Global Transition as a freshman coming from India, and it was such a great “family-like experience” for her that she now volunteers as a Global Transition assistant. While she knows first-hand that moving from another country can be hard, Shah encourages international students to be themselves and not to feel nervous.
“Everyone at Fordham is so friendly and the whole community at Fordham is so welcoming to international students that it makes it all easier.”