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Going Places Center for International Education

Spring 2013

Baylor University

A Letter from Our President Friends:

As you well know, our University’s motto, Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana – for the Church, for Texas -- has long guided Baylor University. This past summer, we expanded that historic motto with the launch of our new strategic vision for the University -- Pro Futuris. As one of its five aspirational statements, Pro Futuris calls us to “Informed Engagement” in our communities at home and abroad. We are called to serve the needs of what our Lord called “the least of these” in nations around the world. As a Christian institution of higher learning in this, the Global Century, our mission is as important as it ever has been.

President Starr leads the students in a Sic ‘Em after running the Baylor line. Photo courtesy of Drew Mills.

The opportunities that the Center for International Education offers are shining examples of global outreach. This year, our faculty and students will travel to more than 30 countries. This affords our students the extraordinary opportunity to immerse themselves in other cultures and learn from colleagues around the world. CIE also offers valuable services to international students who choose to study at Baylor University. This spring, Baylor welcomed 587 new and returning international students to campus, representing 73 countries. They bless us by calling Baylor their second home. At the dawn of the Pro Futuris era, our University’s commitment to global education grows ever stronger. We are grateful for the important work of the Center for International Education in fulfilling Baylor’s lofty mission. Yours sincerely,

Baylor University President


Table of Contents 3 5 7 9 11 15 19 21 23

A Collection of Cultures Baylor’s Window to the World Bears Across the Globe The Mission Around the World...Through the Lens By the Grace of God A Community of Difference Japanese Spring Festival Leadership in Ghana

25 27 29 31 35 37 39 40 41

The Lord Mayor’s Show The Road to Recovery A World of Diversity, A World of Faith Picture the Moments From the Greek Isles to the Brazos Sisters at Heart Jo Murphy Through My Eyes About Staff & CIE

Cover photos courtesy of: Angie Betancourt, Andrew Bowles, Kailey Carpenter, Reilly Geisler, Allison Hainline, Josh Lee, Madeline Lloyd, Linda Mark, Adriana McKinney, Hayley Moore, Freddy Rosas, Nicole Stelter, Scott Sykes, Sara Tirrito, Christina Walther


A Collection of Cultures by

Submersing yourself in a foreign atmosphere and culture can be an eye-opening and educational experience. At Baylor University, there are numerous opportunities to study abroad, and students are often encouraged to take advantage of these programs. However, to the international students at Baylor, the United States is abroad. Dr. Carey Newman, a religion professor at Baylor and director of the Baylor University Press, is no stranger to the feeling of being the outsider in a foreign country. “There are very few times in my life that I’ve felt as completely lost as I did when I was in Beijing, knowing that I was in a part of a city where no one spoke English.” On Oct. 26, 2012, Dr. Brett Wilkinson conducted a panel with Baylor professors from foreign countries. This panel addressed concerns and offered support to international students who may have feelings similar to Newman’s because of their move to the states. The panel consisted of professors who had been international students at some point in their lives. The segment entitled “Been There, Done That” highlighted the professors’ personal experiences and their advice to international students. “We talked about a little bit of everything,” said


Sahara Price

Dr. Pedro Morales, a mathematics lecturer at Baylor. “It was really good to have a diverse panel speaking to students. We had two professors from China, I’m from Guatemala, and Dr. Wilkinson is from Australia.” The difficulty of overcoming the language barrier was one of the major issues discussed during the panel. “My first semester here, I didn’t know any classmates or understand most of the lectures,” Ting Yu said. Yu, a senior accounting major from Dandong, China, began attending Baylor without knowing much English and looked to faculty members for language assistance. “I asked my professors for help and explained that my English was bad, and they all gave me some notes or helped explain something I didn’t understand.” Yu found that while her verbal understanding improved, she continued to read at a slower rate and referred to a Chinese-English dictionary regularly. She found herself spending hours reading the material for class. Numerous professors at Baylor recognize the dedication international students possess and offer these students their support. “I admire

them,” Newman said. “For non-English language speakers who start attending without fluency, it’s a real struggle. For every hour it takes for an American student to do, it would take a nonEnglish speaker two, three or four hours to do.” Even international students from Englishspeaking countries struggle to understand the American culture and language. “Even after 11 years, I still sound different,” Wilkinson said. “I wish I had known so much more about the culture. Coming from an English-speaking country, I guess you assume that you already understand America.” There are many Baylor organizations for international students that foster this idea of community. Every Tuesday night, there are dinners held in the BoBo Spiritual Life center that allow students to get to know other international students as well as American students. For many students, their freshman year of

Above: A view from Ting Yu’s bedroom in China. Upper Left: Morales lectures to students about mathematics. Lower Left: Ting Yu shares her bedroom from Dadong, China. Photos courtesy of Ting Yu and Dr. Pedro Morales.

college is the first time they’re away from their families. They begin to search for a sense of belonging. “My main advice is to get involved,” Wilkinson said. “This is an adventure. If you see it as that and get involved, you’re going to have a really fun experience. If you cloister yourself away and think about how things aren’t like home, then it’s going to be a frustrating process. “ For reasons such as these, Baylor encourages American students to study abroad and experience other cultures. “The most important thing is that you discover your true goals and find your direction,” Morales said. “Sometimes you ask yourself ‘why are you doing this?’ Why are you away from what you know?’ But knowing that you’re pursuing something bigger gives you the motivation to keep going.”


Baylor’s Window to the World

by C


“I think we’re a good country, a great country in so many ways. I love this country, but we need to understand the world doesn’t always see things the way we do,” said former Congressman Chet Edwards during a speech to international Baylor University students on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2013. Edwards, who was named a W.R. Poage Distinguished Professor for Public Service in 2012, spoke to international students in regards to how they can help the Baylor community. “I think it is more important than ever before in human history for those of us from different countries and different cultures to get to know each other better,” Edwards said.


The former congressman examined the United States’ opinion on international cultures, referencing both Galileo and the civil rights movement of the early 1960s. He argued that just as Galileo was deemed a heretic for refusing to believe the solar system revolved around planet Earth, so do Americans often condemn citizens of foreign countries for their varying beliefs and perspectives. Although perhaps common, Edwards believes this attitude to be fundamentally wrong.

Find the common values between our culture and their culture - Chet Edwards

Edwards represented Central Texas in the United States House of Representatives for 20 years, eventually becoming a champion for religious liberty and veterans’ benefits. Prior to his time in Congress, Edwards sat in the Texas State Senate from 1983 to 1990 and was the youngest member to join at the age of 30.


“I think the sooner we realize how important it is that people speak different languages… how important it is we are all a part of God’s children… the better off we’re going to be,” he explained.

As Edwards addressed an audience made mostly of international students, he prompted a call to action. He asked those from foreign countries to help remind Americans of both positive and negative national attributes, naming international students “Baylor’s window to the world”. In contrast, Edwards also spoke to the domestic Baylor population.

Above: Chet Edwards speaks to international students. Upper Right: Edwards talks with an international student. Lower Right: Students discuss the speech.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to meet students from around the world... Find out not only how they might be different, find the common values between our culture and their culture,” said Edwards. Students from many of the 73 foreign countries represented within the Baylor student body ended the evening by asking questions regarding American policy. In response, Edwards encouraged their campus presence. “Your being here as an international student enhances the value of every Baylor student’s education. Your presence here enhances the value of every Baylor degree.”


From Coast To Coast, 587

We Have International Students from Countries


Top 10 Countries China - 240 Republic of Korea - 52 India - 33 Nigeria - 26 Mexico - 24 Canada - 16 United Kingdom - 14 Nepal - 12 Vietnam - 12 Brazil - 11


Bears Across the Globe


The Mission by

Incorporating faith into every aspect of the college experience is something that Baylor considers very sacred. When approaching the classroom, Baylor professors ask themselves, “How would Jesus teach this subject?” When on the football field, Bayxlor Bears score touchdowns with one thing in mind, Colossians 3:23, “serving the Lord”. This is the approach that Baylor’s Spiritual Life department on campus takes when welcoming new students into its home at the Bobo Spiritual Life Center.

Alekza Latte

intimate as seven members or as large as the football team. This year, there will be 20 teams going to 16 different locations, with Africa being one of the more popular trips among students.

We want our students to get a feel for the Christian Faith on a broader level

Groups such as Baylor Religious Hour Choir and student athletes can organize teams, or trips can be centered on a discipline specific mission such as the accounting and pre-med programs. Not only do those in the Spiritual Life office want students to go on mission trips internationally, but also Widick encourages the partnering of students and alumni going together on trips.

Dr. Burt Burleson, University Chaplain, explains how important the interaction - Dr. Burleson between new students and Spiritual Life is. “We want our students to get a feel for the Christian faith on a broader level. Essentially, “One initiative that we’re implementing to they get a big buffet of the different chapel broaden our student’s scope is inviting Baylor experiences,” Dr. Burleson said. alumni to give back to Baylor in a really unique In the Bobo, one can also find Holly Widick, way by using their skills in a mission trip and showing students what they can do with their Coordinator for Missions. Widick works hard degrees. It’s a great collaboration. Students to coordinate mission trips domestically and work along side a professional and alumni can internationally for students. Trips can be as


connect with Baylor. It’s pretty neat to pair up a doctor for our medical trip to El Salvador and sending Waco business owners with business students,” she said. Baylor aspires to have 1,000 students going on mission trips either domestically or internationally by 2020. Widick describes the mission of going on these trips as, “The integration of faith, learning and service. Showing students how they can make a difference and also impact their life. Going on a Spiritual Life mission trip can enable students to learn that their vocation is a calling. Students can do something worthwhile with their major.” Above: Christian Smith with children of a local village in Kenya. Upper Right: Andrew Bowles smiles with a child on the Ghana Community Development trip. Bottom Right: Students lead a Sic ‘Em in Ghana. Bottom Left: Emily Hood hugs two local village children in Ghana. Photos courtesy of Holly Widick.


Around the World


Reilly Geisler


Adriana McKinney

...Through the Lens


Adriana McKinney


Allison Hainline

by Scott Sykes

By the Grace of God by

After years of thinking her lifelong dream of practicing medicine was impossible, Mali student Jeanne Samake is well on her way to making that fantasy a reality. However, her journey differs from most overcoming challenges and persevering through hurdles most of us would pray that we would never have to experience, but by putting her belief in God, Samake is proof of what trusting your faith can really do. Samake is originally from Cote D’ Ivoire, also known as Ivory Coast, and only spoke French, making her first hurdle of applying to higher education a pretty big one. “I would send them an e-mail and translate it using Google translate,” said Samake, “I thought, if it was God-willed, it would work out.” Yet the beginning of Samake’s story really begins in her last years of high school. In 1999, rebellion broke out in Ivory Coast and continued until well after she and her family relocated to Mali. “For a while, I was not sure I was even going to finish high school,” said Samake.


Amber Owens

Though never exposed to any fighting, the rebellion worsened through her senior year of school. Gun shots could be heard from classrooms, and some days, school would be canceled for the safety of the students. Hearing of these struggles, Samake’s uncle offered to take in Samake and her siblings, thus prompting their move to Mali. Once in Mali and in the safety of family, Samake realized that her lifelong dream of being a physician was out of reach because she had not been in the school system in that country. “The original plan was not the plan anymore,” said Samake, “But in my family, education is important. I did not have the option to sit around and do nothing.” Knowing this, Samake applied for business school. Her late father worked as a statistical engineer and she took an interest in economics. Combining the two, she earned her business degree and hoped to further her education in the United States. Most of her friends were doing the same, but in France. Samake knew that if she were going to come to the United States she was going to

Above: Jeanne Samake poses for a picture. Right: A picture of the Mali flag. Photos courtesy of Courtney Ouellette.

have to work twice as hard in order to succeed since French was her primary language. Using Google translate, she filled out applications and contacted professors of various schools in Texas. These professors helped her to enroll in a program in Houston that would teach her English and allow her to apply to other schools later to continue her studies. Samake worked seven days a week for two semesters dedicating herself to learning English. “I had a goal, I was not here as a tourist. I needed to understand fluently.” When asked what helped to keep her motivated and encouraged, Samake said that she was lucky to have a roommate who was willing to help her learn. She also gave thanks to her neighbors who spoke fluent Portuguese, and having taken Spanish in business school the

two would communicate with each other and their friends through common translations. Samake’s biggest challenge through that first year was not the transition to a new country as most may think, it was being in a room full of students who didn’t speak any English - let alone the same language - with a professor who only spoke the language they were trying to learn. Despite this, she pushed on, telling herself, “Okay God, you are the one who created all these languages, if I’m here, you will give me strength to understand this new language.” By the end of the second semester she was ready to apply for higher education. Samake was fortunate to have her cousin in Houston with her after completing the program.


Having gone to school in the United States himself, he knew how different the school systems were here compared to Africa. “He asked me, ‘Ever since you were little we knew that you wanted to be in medicine, why not do it? It is different here.’” Samake realized that by coming to the United States her dream of being a physician was yet again alive. Instead of searching for business schools, she switched tactics and began to search for schools that would lead her to medical school.

Much to her sister’s dismay, Samake had to leave Baylor and return to Ivory Coast. “My goal was to come to the U.S. and study and if I couldn’t be here, why would I go anywhere else, but with my sister who was supporting me. She gave up everything to support me and [my siblings] when my dad passed away and was always saying ‘you can do it.’” Unfortunately, the rebellion was much different from the one in 1999. Exposed to the fighting, Samake recalled how dangerous it was for her sister to even pick her up from the airport.

Fighting for their lives, she remembered how more than twice she thought it would be their last day. “Seeing people dying, thinking ‘Okay that’s it, this is our turn we are not going to see tomorrow. Okay thank you Lord,’” she would say. “Singing, praising and worshiping this is the only thing we could do at that time. Reading our Bible, ‘Okay Samake soon discovered Lord, maybe it would be a matter Baylor with the of hours we would see you.’” encouragement of her - Jeanne Samake cousin, and took our strong Through these tough times Christian background as a Samake told herself, “We live sign that this was where she needed to be. today, thank God. If tomorrow we are not, However, in the spring of 2011, disaster struck. thank God. That means we will be with Him.” For a while, her home had become safe again Not letting the rebellion keep her down, and her sister - her biggest support system Samake found opportunity to put what she had - had gone back to work and was financially learned to use. She acknowledged that she was supporting Samake from Ivory Coast, but due not a physician, but offered her services to the to a recent presidential election, rebellion had hospital. “I can help,” she said, “I can shadow ensued once again. any physician, I can pray for people, I can help.” Because of the rebellion, it was dangerous for Samake had accepted that she may never return to Baylor and was content staying in her sister, Ghislaine, to go to work, and she was Ivory Coast with her sister. However, Ghislaine no longer able to support Samake financially. felt otherwise. With the help of her friends, they Knowing that her one year of English and her business background would not be enough to get her through the MCAT, she began to search for schools with top biology programs in order to earn her second bachelor’s degree.

We live today, thank God. If tomorrow we are not, thank God. That means we will be with Him.


were able to get enough money to send Samake back to Waco. After four months away, Samake was back at Baylor, much to the surprise of her friends and even herself. When asked how she felt when she found out she was able to return, all she could say was that it felt like a dream and she knew it was God saying, ‘Okay this is it, you’re going to be a physician.’ Her friends and the Baylor faculty, who had given her a lot of support academically and emotionally, welcomed Samake back with open arms. She gave all of her thanks to God, saying, “You just believe in Him and He can change your life.” Samake could say only this about what kept her going through all of her struggles, “To tell you the truth, I would say God, when I don’t know, it has to be God. People think I am strong, but I even wonder where I get that strength and I’m like it’s only God… I talk to God all the time. [He] will be with you no matter where, until the end of the world, until the end of time.” Keynote speaker of the “Emerging Africa: Poverty Reduction and Wealth Creation” forum, Dr. Mahajan, awarded Samake with a $1,000 scholarship based on her academic merit and need. Samake’s PAWS partner Melanie Smith was proud that her hard work was recognized, “During my four years working with international students at Baylor, I have never seen a student with such passion, faith and endurance through life’s obstacles. She then challenges us all to continue on with determination, a smile and a faith that just grows through it all.” After medical school, Samake would like to go wherever she can help people, whether that’s back in Africa or somewhere else, she would just like to help. Her family is her biggest inspiration.

Samake with her PAWS host, Melanie Smith. Photo courtesy of Courtney Ouellette.

Suffering through so much loss, not only from the rebellions, but also from health issues, Samake has a mindset that perhaps these things could have been prevented, feeding her drive to reach her goal. Through her journey, one thing has stayed constant - Samake gives all of her success and opportunities to the glory of God saying, “This is my life, it’s only by God’s grace, no human being whatsoever can give you that chance, to live, to sing all the time.”


A Community of Difference by

We tend to associate community with similarity. We want to be a part of a group of people who are like us, who share similar experiences, whose lives are related to our own. However, Baylor’s Global Community Living and Learning Center (GC-LLC) does something different. In the GC-LLC, community is formed through a celebration of differences. Its members are brought together over a passion for diversity and cultures other than their own. Located in Brooks Flats, this unique program offers students various opportunities for engaging different cultures. Three suite options are available: the language suites, the world affairs suites and the mission suites. The language suites are perhaps the most unusual of the three. In this program students are immersed into a language of their choice. Often, native speakers live with those students interested in learning their language. Claire Chen, a senior marketing and international studies major from China, applied for the GCLLC because she knew, as a native speaker, that she would be able to help students learning Chinese. “The ideal suite,” says Alejandra MendozaMuñoz, program coordinator for the GC-LLC,


Maxcey Kite

“will be always speaking Chinese or making Chinese food and sharing the culture and learning more about the language.” Currently, the languages being learned by students in the suites include Spanish, German, Japanese, French, Italian and Chinese. Students in the program are also required to earn at least eight suite-themed hours. These are won by completing challenges in their target language like describing their country’s flag in its language, visiting a Language Conversation Table sponsored by the Modern Foreign Language department, or meeting with their Suite Liaison, or a faculty advisor. “We have a few things in place to encourage language immersion,” explains MendozeMuñoz. “But at the end of the day, it’s going to depend on the students and how much they do with it.” While this program offers very obvious benefits to the students attempting to learn the various languages, it is also quite rewarding to the native speakers as well. Not only does Chen’s cultural and leadership experience complement her internship applications, but she also enjoys helping her non-native speaker roommate. “Things that we [Chen and her other Chinese-

Above: Brooks Flats. Upper Right: Students enjoy dinner. Lower right: Students clean up the Brazos River. Photos courtesy of Alejandra Mendoza-Muñoz.

speaking suite-mates] know from kindergarten or primary school do not even make sense to her,” Chen states. “We try to explain it in different ways, and it’s just really fun.” Really fun is right. The GC-LLC also participates in a number of activities throughout each semester that are both exciting and educational. Each month, a global community dinner is held featuring a particular country and its cuisine. Last semester, the international dance party highlighted dances from around the world. One of the most interesting and appealing aspects of these events, and the program in general, is the students’ ownership over it. “It’s really not us [the GC-LLC staff] directing what we want them to learn, but it’s more of a handson planning,” explains Mendoza-Muñoz. Each member of the GC-LLC is a part of a leadership team that helps to coordinate, plan,

and evaluate different aspects of the program. As part of the marketing team, Chen works as a liaison for the GC-LLC newsletter and Mendoza-Muñoz. “I just like to be a part of it. It’s my committee, and I’m proud of it,” Chen affirms. The Global Community Living and Learning Center is a harmonious blend of culture and language. The 51 students who are currently part of this program share their differences with each other and create one of the most unique communities on Baylor’s campus.


Japanese Spring Festival by C


Many people in the Baylor community have never traveled to foreign countries. Because of Baylor’s diversity, which includes international students and staff from 73 countries, they don’t have to. Professors, like Yuko Prefume, believe it’s important to exchange ideas and customs from different nations. Prefume teaches Japanese language classes and sponsors the Japanese Student Association, all while working toward a doctorate degree. “When I first started teaching I found that there was more I needed to know. I got a master’s degree, and I felt it still was not enough,” she recalled. Teaching language alone wasn’t enough for her either. “When I first started to teach Japanese, I thought about ways to expose Japanese culture to our students,” Prefume said. Because spring is an important time in Japan, she decided a spring festival would be a great way to introduce Japanese culture to her students. During springtime, people in Japan enjoy Hanami, a custom that involves picnicking under cherry blossom trees or ‘sakuras’ and celebrating their beauty. Like Baylor’s festival,



spring festivals in Japan include traditional performing arts, games and celebrating. With ideas in mind, Prefume started to plan. “I had some Japanese contacts in the Dallas area, so I was able to invite the traditional Japanese Taiko drum group and a group for a tea ceremony,” she said. Although she had connections in Dallas, Prefume knew she wouldn’t be able to do it alone. “Since I was the sponsor of the Japanese Students Association, I proposed the JSA be a part of the celebration,” said Prefume. The first Japanese Spring Festival was held in April 2008 at the Mayborn Museum and was open to the public. “We decided to have it open to the public because we wanted to introduce Japanese culture to both Baylor students and the Waco community,” said Prefume. After the festival, she decided to step back and hand the reins to JSA and its officers. Although JSA has been responsible for planning the event from that point on, her students haven’t forgotten the woman who started the tradition. “I think Professor Prefume is a great instructor of the Japanese language, and above all, a

Above: A traditional Taiko drum performance. Upper Right: Joseph Hsiao practices calligraphy. Lower Right: Students enjoy traditional Japanese music. Photos courtesy of Sahara Price.

great person. She has shown over the years that I’ve known her that she really cares about her students,” said Katarina Pin, the current JSA president. This year’s spring festival, held at the North Village Community Center March 2, was a success according to Arlington native Raven Dorsey. “It was well put together,” she said. “It was fun getting to experience a little bit of Japan.” Dorsey, a sophomore, is taking Japanese language courses and volunteered to help out at the festival by running the face painting activity. Japanese themed pictures were popular, as well as turtles, hearts and flowers. “It was a friendly, fun scene. People enjoyed themselves and seemed interested in

experiencing as many parts of the culture as possible,” Dorsey said. The best part for many, including Dorsey, was the entertainment. This year’s celebration included a traditional Japanese Taiko drum performance and a dance routine performed by Baylor students. Activities like calligraphy, origami and the Japanese version of rock-paper-scissors were also featured, further spreading Japanese culture.


Leadership in Ghana by

Building a Global Initiative When Dr. Ramona Curtis first took on the role of Director for Leader Development and Civic Engagement at Baylor, one of her major goals was to create a three to five year project with another country, specifically with Ghana. Because many of the students who were attracted to her leadership programs were prehealth majors, this global initiative developed into a medicine-related mission trip. Late in 2008, Curtis began working with two prehealth students in her program to help design the trip. The father of one of these two students was actually from Ghana and connected them with a community partner, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. Curtis took a scouting trip to Ghana in 2011, her first trip to Africa. There, she discussed the opportunities that would be available to her students with Dr. Fred Yaw Bio, the medical director at the university. Curtis wanted her students to serve in the university hospital setting, to look at a community clinic and to explore health issues in a developing country. She also desired for the


Maxcey Kite

students to engage with Bio and his research on preventing the transmission of HIV from pregnant mothers to their unborn children and to experience the culture of Ghana. In 2012, Curtis led a group of students on the first Leadership in Ghana mission trip. Students are already preparing for the 2013 trip, which runs from May 19 through June 2. For the future, Curtis has begun discussions with Bio about the possibility of Kwame Nkrumah students visiting Baylor and working in the Waco community.

A Different Kind of Medicine The Leadership in Ghana mission trip exposes students to differences both in culture and in medicine. For many students, Ghana is a surprise, breaking the stereotype of a developing African nation. Amanda Rushing, a sophomore chemistry premed major, attended the 2012 Leadership in Ghana trip. Rushing found her experiences shadowing physicians to be extremely interesting and, in many cases, surprising. “There was almost no preventative care,” she says. “People would come in and they were deathly sick. It was mostly emergency stuff.”

trip has not lessened, but instead it has intensified. For Curtis, as an African American woman, visiting Ghana and Africa for the first time was immeasurably impactful. She recounts one of her most emotional memories, “The most powerful, the most moving part of that trip was visiting the slave castle. It was so emotional. I did not prepare myself for it.” Curtis continues reverently, “The other piece to me…was to wake up everyday and the majority of the people looked like me. I didn’t even think about that when I was Rushing and a few members of the surgery staff. Photo courtesy of Amanda Rushing. there, but when we got back to the airport in Amsterdam and the Rushing also came to Ghana with the common skin color started changing, it was really weird assumption that AIDS cases would be rampant. for me. . . I didn’t realize how empowering it However, instead she found that malaria was a was to wake up everyday in a country where much more common ailment. “Where I’m from the people in power, the people next to you, the in Louisiana, Baton Rouge, has a higher rate people on your left and right, front and back of AIDS than the city I was in Africa,” Rushing look like you. I had never felt that before.” acknowledges. The interaction of medicine and culture was even more fascinating. Rushing discusses the very distinct atmosphere of the birthing process in Ghana, “It would just be a woman by herself, no husband, no family. She would just walk in and she would be in pre-op for about an hour. Then she would go in and have her child with very little anesthesia…and you could just tell she was in so much pain and she wasn’t saying anything.” This contrasted sharply with the screaming, family-surrounded pregnancies common to American culture.

Reflections At the end of each day, the students would gather for a time of reflection. After returning from Ghana, the power of reflecting back on the

Rushing remembers the very first day of her trip the most vividly. “I guess I didn’t know what to expect, so everything was super new and amazing.” For Rushing, her time in Ghana confirmed her desire to enter the medical field. “It was just validating,” she reflects. “This is what I want to do with my life. Even though it’s hard…I love doing this. Just the thought of doing this in my future… I would work a thousand hours out of the day if that was possible.” The Leadership in Ghana trip allowed Rushing to realize her own standard of healthcare and how that compared to different standards around the world. “It was a life changing experience,” she says passionately. “It was a year ago, and I still think about it almost every day.”


The Lord Mayor’s Show by

Imagine crowds roaring, cameras flashing and millions watching as the Lord Mayor’s Show journeys through the heart of London every November. For 800 years this parade has marched on despite wars and a plague, making it the oldest civic procession in the world. This past year, one of Baylor’s own had the opportunity to join the history books by taking part in this time-honored celebration. Amber Lethem, a senior international studies major from Honolulu, Hawaii, was studying abroad at St Andrews University in Scotland in the fall of 2012 when she literally won the experience of a lifetime. “As a study abroad student, the last thing you expect is that you’re going to represent the actual university you’re studying at in such a prestigious event,” Lethem said. The Lord Mayor’s Show is a tradition dating back to 1215, when King John made the Mayor of London the first elected office by the people. In order to balance both the king’s firm rule and the people’s desire for more influence, a condition was made that every year the newly elected official would travel from London to Westminster to pledge his loyalty to the Crown. Dressed in costume and traveling alongside


Marissa Marak

the newly appointed mayor is a brilliant procession of regiments, university students and organizations the Lord Mayor supports. In the middle of writing a paper, Lethem took a break, as most students do, to browse Facebook when she saw a post about a contest held for St Andrews students. Three winners would be chosen to represent St Andrews in the upcoming Lord Mayor’s Show. Since St Andrews was celebrating 600 years since its founding, the contest was seeking students that emphasized St Andrews’ wide diversity. Lethem was the perfect choice. “I wrote the essay kind of on a whim. I didn’t think I was going to win, especially as a one semester study abroad student,” Lethem said. In the Lord Mayor’s Show, Lethem, along with two other St Andrews students, held a large, block number, 6-0-0, to represent the university’s 600-year anniversary. The parade was unlike anything Lethem had seen before. “I guess you could equate it to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City,” Lethem said. “Everyone was dressed in extravagant costumes…thousands upon thousands of people were at the actual

procession and millions more watched on TV.” Adding to the prestige of the event, Lethem was chosen to speak on live national television about St Andrews and the Lord Mayor’s Show. “I was completely nervous [to be on TV],” Lethem said. When the time came for Lethem to be interviewed by Helen Skelton, a BBC presenter and local celebrity, the overall pandemonium of the crowd made it hard for Lethem to hear the questions. Having to walk and talk at the same time as the parade progressed also proved challenging in such a frantic, yet exciting, setting. “When I was actually getting interviewed, it was so difficult because it was so loud – I could barely hear her,” Lethem said. Skelton asked Lethem about the exhilaration of the parade and the culturally diverse St Andrews University. “The university [St Andrews] has grown so much in its reputation academically, and it has also set a great example to the world about accessing cultures, sharing ideas and celebrating the differences in people,” Lethem said in her BBC interview.

Above: Lethem walks in the Lord Mayor’s Show. Upper Left: Lethem with other St Andrew’s students. Lower Left: A group of colorfully dressed participants. Photos courtesy of Amber Lethem.

For Lethem, this idea of cultural diversity was a major reason for attending St Andrews in the first place. Before St Andrews, Lethem had never seen such a unique blend of students from all different nations of the world. Lethem even says the thing she misses most are all the incredible people she met while abroad. Reflecting back on her time at St Andrews, Lethem can hardly believe she had the opportunity and experience of participating in the Lord Mayor’s Show, meeting amazing students from all across the globe and even living in the same dorm as Prince William and Kate Middleton. “I know this place will leave a lasting impression on me,” Lethem wrote in the closing statements of her submission essay for the Lord Mayor’s Show. While her time abroad has left a mark on her, it is more importantly Lethem, who has left her mark on the Lord Mayor’s Show, St Andrews and now Baylor University.


The Road to Recovery by

On the night of March 8, 2012, international student Isa Torres was riding his bike home from work in the pouring rain. A car hit him from behind so he has been told. Torres’s mother, who was in El Paso, drove straight through the night to Waco. She did not leave his side throughout his recovery, much like the strong community of friends and classmates Torres had to support him every step of the way. Torres suffered from a traumatic brain injury. A very small percentage of people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries can completely recover and live a normal life. “I had to learn how to drink again, how to walk,” said Torres. Torres was at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center following the accident, and then he was transferred to Kindred Hospital in Fort Worth for a week, and finally Baylor Medical Center in Dallas. Thus, he was transferred to three different hospitals throughout the first month after his accident. He then started rehab at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation the following month. He worked on physical and cognitive skills, as well as social skills, such as cooking and playing sports. His


Kate Martinez

injuries prevented him from attending school for a semester. While Torres began his road to recovery, his friends were hard at work to help Torres and his mother through the hardship in any way possible. One of Torres’s good friends from seminary school, Christina Gibson, helped move his mom into a house while Isa was at the hospital in Waco. When the accident first happened, friends at Truett Seminary raised almost $2,000 for Torres. It was extremely helpful because he had to pay a weekly rent while he was in Dallas doing rehab. “I do remember being in Dallas and having a lot of visitors. Most of them were from Baylor,” said Torres. Friends from El Paso and Lubbock were also constantly checking in on him and comforting his mom. Torres was overwhelmed by all the support and comfort he and his mom received. He began to ask himself how he was deserving of this kindness and care. It was, “to the point that it makes me feel like this is too good, I don’t think I’m that good of a friend or that good of a person to receive that kind of attention,” said

Isa Torres, Truett Seminary student. Photo courtesy of Sam O’Brien.

Torres. “Anything that we needed, they were very supportive and very forward in saying ‘hey if you need something, just let us know,’ said Torres. When Torres returned to class over the summer, he had two classes to complete in a summer session. The first day he was anxious to see how he would do in the classroom setting. “I mean I was there and I was trying to do my best to listen, but I would see her speaking and something in my head would snap back and I

would have no recollection of what she said,” explained Torres. He would completely forget. He knew he was in the class and listening but he would just blank out. “It was scary and hard to adjust to at first. Sometimes it still happens, just not as often.” Torres is still at Truett Seminary School working to complete his education. “If I ever had any doubts about staying here in Waco at Truett, they’re gone now,” said Torres. He is very thankful to be here and knows he has a strong community of friends at Baylor.


A World of Diversity, A World of Faith

by M


Students at Baylor University come from 49 different states and 73 different countries. This beautiful diversity results in a mix of different backgrounds and ethnicities. At Baylor, many students have found that no matter where they are from, they share a similar faith. For one particular group of students, the difference in their backgrounds and cultures has enhanced their Christian faith. At 7 p.m. every Thursday night, a group of Baylor students from all over the world gather to share stories, worship God and study the Bible. Though they come from different backgrounds, they share the same faith. This international Bible study, called the international life-group has brought students from China, Korea, Kenya, Mexico and many other countries together. They meet on campus in the office of the North Village dormitory. Men and women, undergraduate students and graduate students, all come together to share their faith. Some are new to the Christian faith and are just discovering the story of Jesus; others have grown up in a Christian household and are diving even deeper into their faith. The group is lead by five different people, one of who is Karl Jreijiri, a former Baylor student from Lebanon. Jreijiri decided to follow Jesus



in 2009 after watching his older brothers’ lives be transformed by God. A few years later he came to Baylor with nothing other than a desire to live in America. At the beginning of the fall semester in 2012, a friend informed him that some members of a local church were starting an international Bible study. “I went and it was awesome. I am not used to people being so kind. I thought they were being fake at first! But everyone was so real and so loving. It drew me more and more into the group,” said Jreijiri. After being a member of the life-group for a few months, Jreijiri was asked to help lead. God had given him the gift of leadership, however his main goal was to serve. “I love helping people walk with Jesus. I wanted to change the world so I started with international students. People are coming to this international life-group and meeting Jesus, and then they are going back to their home countries and sharing the love of Jesus with their families and others. Each person is an individual and I thank God for how caring they are. I love being a leader because I love getting involved in people’s lives,” said Jreijiri.

Above: Students talk during bible study. Upper Right: The international bible study group. Lower Right: Students pray together. Photos courtesy of Marissa Minter.

With a leader like Jreijiri who is so passionate about international students, and who stands firm in his Christianity, it is no wonder that students are drawn to this faith-based community. “I love hearing about what God is doing in other people’s lives,” said Angela Ombaso, a junior from Kenya who attends the international lifegroup. “Knowing that there are other people in the journey of faith with you is what keeps me coming back each week. People don’t have perfect lives, and it’s good to hear people be real and open with each other.” Not only do the students meet to share their faith, but they also take time to celebrate each culture. Not only are they learning about the Bible, but they are also learning more about different cultures. While their families might be thousands of miles away, they have formed their

own family here at Baylor. As Jreijiri said, “It’s amazing that people can come from all over the world but still be united in Jesus. We learn so much from each other when we are united in one group.”



Courtney Ouellette


Madeline Lloyd

Picture The Moments


Linda Mark



Reilly Geisler

by Josh Lee

From the Greek Isles to the Brazos


Leaving his family behind in the midst of an economic crisis, Zach Papadakis came to Baylor University ready to pursue his dreams and experience new opportunities. Papadakis considers himself a true islander from Rethymno, Crete, the largest island off the southern coast of Greece. His mother’s house is just 10 minutes from the sea. Although he loves his homeland, his heart now lies in America, where he hopes to build his future. After obtaining his masters in kinesiology exercise, nutrition and health promotion while studying in the U.K., Papadakis returned to Greece to start his own exercise science lab that provided sport services to clients who had trouble with rehabilitation. Unfortunately, after five years, he was forced to sell everything. He knew that studying in America was the answer that would propel him to achieving his goals. Zach Papadakis started applying to all of the major universities in the United States, and eventually contacted a professor, Dr. Peter Grandjean. Dr. Grandjean told Papadakis that he would love to have him on his research team but that he was in the process of transferring to Baylor University in Waco. After much thought, he applied, and was later accepted.


Jenny Philen

Now in his second year working with Dr. Grandjean to study the health fitness benefits and exercise at Baylor, Papadakis knows he made the right choice. Baylor provides him with a real opportunity and the right tools to succeed, something that was difficult back home in Greece. “I’m really excited. I love the campus, I love the people around here especially the office of international students here. They did a very good job the moment I came here, and those were the first people who I met. They were so friendly to me and they took me everywhere from shopping in Dallas to NASA and even horse riding,” Papadakis said. While at Baylor, Papadakis wanted to get involved in campus life. He had been a basketball coach in Greece, so when he was asked to coach the international intramural basketball team, he gladly accepted the offer. “We had a lot of fun. We played a few games and created a bond with each other. With these kinds of tournaments, it’s not about winning. It helped kids get off the couch and have fun, so it was a benefit for everybody.” Researching the effects of exercise is his passion.

Above: Rethymno lighthouse, located on one of the largest sand beaches in Crete. Right: Papadakis carrying the Greek flag for Baylor’s CIE parade. Photos courtesy of Stelios Koundourakis.

He wants to be able to prevent disease, lower obesity and educate people on health benefits and how exercise and eating right can change a person’s life. “At Baylor, I am given the tools I need to succeed,” Papadakis explains. He wants to share the information he has learned from his research with others because, he feels if he doesn’t, he has failed. His plans are to find a job at a university in America after he graduates. Currently on a student visa, Papadakis has one year to find a job after receiving his doctorate, or he will have to return to Greece. “If you can’t get a job and you have a degree from the states, employers will believe there must be something wrong with you,” Papadakis said. But for him it’s not about the money, it’s all about the environment. He would rather be working at a job he loves more than anything else.

American dream. He wants a house with a loving Christian wife and children. He hopes that one day his mother will have the opportunity to visit him in America, and to see the new life he has created. While reflecting on his life in Greece and coming to America, Papdakis said, “It was like being in a relationship and becoming free and being yourself.” In Greece he didn’t get the appreciation and recognition he desired. But now America, Texas and specifically Baylor, with its Center for International Education, have given him that and much more.

Papadakis simply wants a chance to live the


Sisters at Heart by

The friendship between Linda Njoh and Denka Markova began in Arkadelphia, Ark. at Henderson State University. In December 2002, Njoh arrived in Arkansas and Denka came the following semester. They were both in the computer science department, Njoh was tired of the long hours in the lab, and decided to go see her advisor about it. She saw that the math curriculum was very close to her own, so she decided to switch her major.

Kate Martinez

relationship because there were not many women in the math building and they were taking the exact same courses. After studying together, they became even closer. They also started serving together on International Affairs Committee, in the International Student House; Markova was the vice president and Njoh was the treasurer. Taking care of the international students coming into the United States help build their friendship even more.

Two separate cultures. Mine and hers, very different.

Afterwards, when talking to one of her friends in the International Student When Njoh’s advisor House, Njoh met Markova. mentioned Baylor’s - Linda Njoh Njoh expressed her graduate school, Njoh distaste for her current encouraged Markova to major, “I was exhausted visit with her. They ended with the whole computer science thing you up applying at the same time. Both girls got know, I didn’t want to spend my life in front of in together and were in the same classes once a computer,” she said. again. That same week, Markova happened to change her major to math. They quickly formed a close


They moved all their belongings together from Arkansas to Waco. Putting their money together,

All of the above photos show Linda Njoh and Denka Markova spending time together. Photos courtesy of Linda Njoh.

they rented a big U-Haul and attached it to Njoh’s car. Markova followed in her own car, the whole way to Baylor. They parked right in the middle of campus with their U-Haul. Even though they had not figured out their living situation yet, they took the campus by storm, because that was just the kind of team they were. Njoh and Markova ate together, studied together and learned together. The one thing they didn’t do was living together. “We always agreed to never live together because we figured if we’re so close, if we live together we would just butt heads,” said Njoh.

with her for a month. While there, Markova’s mother was visiting, so she cleaned, cooked and took care of Njoh just like her own because, “that’s how we are,” explains Njoh. Njoh swears that she and Markova have a closer relationship than she does with her actual sister. Although Njoh from Bulgaria, very tight-knit see each other

is from Africa and Markova is the two women have formed a bond. They keep in touch, and three or four times a year.

“Two separate cultures. Mine and hers, very different. The food, very different, habits, different, skin color, different but in some way it just didn’t matter,” said Njoh.

After Markova graduated, Njoh went to stay


Jo Murphy


Courtney Ouellette

The Jo Murphy Chair was established in 1991 to oversee activities in the Center for International Students at Baylor. The position was created in honor of Mrs. Jo Murphy, an Alumna Honoris Causa. This title is the highest distinction awarded by Baylor University to individuals who did not graduate from the university, according to Baylor’s website. Murphy worked at the Houston Endowment foundation for almost 40 years, where she retired as the vice president of endowments. Although she did not attend Baylor, Murphy was influential in securing endowments for the university, several of which have funded building projects. She is also a recipient of the W. R. White Award in addition to other awards from Baylor. The honored contributor celebrated her birthday on March 15, turning 88 years old. At a celebratory luncheon in Houston, Murphy was joined by about 60 guests, including the current Jo Murphy Chair, Dr. Naymond Keathley. Dr. Keathley is a Baylor alumnus, and prior to his acceptance of the Jo Murphy Chair position, he was the senior vice provost at Baylor. Dr. Keathley believes Murphy has had a huge impact on Baylor’s international students. “Although Mrs. Murphy does not know all of


Mrs. Murphy and Dr. Keathley enjoy some quality time. Photo courtesy of Dr. Keathley.

these individual students, she has played a significant role in the pursuit of their academic careers by her interest in and generous support of Baylor,” he said. Today, the Center for International Education manages over 1,000 students who participate in mission trips and study abroad programs, while also being home to almost 600 international students. Following the establishment of the Jo Murphy Chair, the number of international students at Baylor has steadily risen. We would like to recognize and honor Mrs. Jo Murphy for her incredible contributions to Baylor.

Through My Eyes by

Sanmai Gbandi

A contributing writer from the Baylor Lariat sat down with graduate student Jie Tang to find out about his transition from China to America. He is working toward a master’s degree in Management and Information Systems (MIS) here at Baylor University.

Q: How did you hear about Baylor? A: I used to be an exchange student in Portland State University. At that time, I was applying for graduate school. My adviser told me he had friends in Baylor. He told me I probably can get a scholarship if I applied for Baylor. And then I tried that, and I got a scholarship.

Q: How has coming to Baylor changed your life? A: Coming to Baylor changed my life a lot. I used to be an exchange student in Portland State University. I used to go to church with a family there, but it was not very fun. I was kind of pushed into it there. When I’m here, the church families are very kind. My welcome family is the church family. They didn’t push me to join to church, to believe in God. They just treated me like I’m their son.

Q: How much of an impact do you think international students have on this campus? A: You know, we just had Chinese New Year last week. There was a notice on our website, and also we have Chinese organizations on campus. So from a Chinese point, I think we have some impact on the campus. And I know a lot of my friends who have American friends who want to learn Chinese, so we are making impacts.

Q: Do you think there could be improvements in Baylor students’ awareness of international things going on? A: Randy Kondler is my P.A.W.S. (People At Work and Service) partner. I know it’s a very good way because we, the international students, have someone to help them to get involved into their life here. If we can have each international student have a P.A.W.S. partner or a welcome family, it will help a lot. The admissions department can have more parties to get international students and American students together. Just more opportunities to get in touch with each other. If we can have more opportunities to know each other, it can help a lot.


pr agency Maxcey Kite

Marissa Minter

Sahara Price

Alekza Latte

Courtney Ouellette

Corinne Roberts

Marissa Marak

Amber Owens

Professor Carol Perry

Professional Writing, 2013 Aledo, Texas Public Relations, 2013 Katy, Texas New Media, 2015 West, Texas

Kate Martinez

Public Relations, 2014 San Antonio, Texas


Public Relations, 2014 Sugar Land, Texas Public Relations, 2015 Fort Hood, Texas Public Relations, 2013 Arlington, Texas

Jenny Philen

Public Relations, 2013 Los Angeles, Calif.

Public Relations, 2015 Denton, Texas Public Relations, 2013 Peachtree City, Ga.

Special Thanks To:

Melanie Smith

About The Center For International Education The Center for International Education consists of the International Student and Scholar Service and Study Abroad. The International Student and Scholar Services provides orientation and immigration services for incoming international students and scholars, as well as facilitation of and advocacy for Baylor’s Study Abroad and Exchange programs. During 2013, over 587 international students and scholars from 73 countries were present on the Baylor campus, and during the past academic year, more than 820 American Baylor students participated in Baylor’s over 104 outgoing study abroad and exchange affiliate programs for academic credit. The Center is dedicated to the support and success of all Baylor students, abroad and here on campus. The Center’s mission of “bringing the world to Baylor and sending Baylor to the world” starts with the individual student. Each day, the Center’s staff strives to encourage the growth of tolerance, understanding, respect and create opportunities for international and American students to interact. The Center works to provide the most positive experiences for international students and faculty, and to emphasize the contributions of our international guests to the student body. By attracting top students from all over the world, both international and American students’ horizons are broadened beyond their immediate culture.

For more information please contact: Center for International Education Baylor University One Bear Place #97012 Waco, TX 76798-7012 Phone (254) 710-2657 Fax (254) 710-2690 E-mail: WWW.BAYLOR.EDU/CIE

Bringing the World to Baylor . . . Sending Baylor to the World


Going Places Spring 2013  

Baylor University Center for International Education Publication

Going Places Spring 2013  

Baylor University Center for International Education Publication