The News-Star, Monroe, La., on making international students feel at home at ULM
The News-Star, Monroe, La., on making international students feel at home at ULM:
Imagine being 18 years old and beginning college on a campus halfway around the world from your parents, friends and home.
You may have a fragile grasp of the language but are unfamiliar with the food, customs and culture of your new home, country and most of your classmates.
While relishing the magnificent opportunity, it can also bring a lonely transition that affects your initial quality of life and chances at success.
Eric Liew, a University of Louisiana at Monroe graduate, felt all of those things as an international student from Malaysia 30 years ago.
Today Liew owns and operates the international AOSS Medical Supply company headquartered in the Monroe Air Industrial Park.
He not only adopted Monroe as his hometown and the United States as his country but also has created hundreds of jobs here.
But he never forgot those first days at ULM, and this month he and his family pledged $1 million to establish an international student center at ULM to provide a family setting for future students.
ULM President Nick Bruno said the gift will also help the university with its recruitment of international students. Today, ULM is home to about 450 international students but the number was much larger when Liew attended ULM.
“This is the fulfillment of a dream and goal we’ve had at the university for some years to provide a facility for our international students that would be welcoming and allow the interaction of both the international students and our domestic native students on a daily basis,” Bruno said.
Other local business leaders are also pledging support.
Interstate Dodge owner John Klagholz agreed to donate a vehicle to provide international students transportation for personal needs, while Progressive Bank plans to provide banking assistance to new international students.
We appreciate Liew’s investment, which will help current and future international students assimilate and may convince more of them to stay, as he did, and find their American dream in northeastern Louisiana.