International Graduates Celebrate After Unprecedented College Experience
- May 19, 2022
- Alex Briseño
After hours of virtual classes, months of travel restrictions and years of uncertainty, students of many nationalities gathered for a celebration of perseverance at the Texas Global Class of 2022 Graduating International Student Reception.
Hosted by Texas Global’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), the soon-to-be graduates from The University of Texas at Austin celebrated together for a final time alongside friends and family before officially becoming Texas Exes.
“You could have gone anywhere in the world to study, and you chose The University of Texas at Austin. We are so grateful that you did,” said Sonia Feigenbaum, senior vice provost of global engagement and chief international officer. “It is our international students who bring the world to this university. Now, as graduates, you will be ambassadors for UT Austin wherever you go.”
Students also received words of support from keynote speaker Dr. Mousumi Bhat, a UT Austin alumna who is a semiconductor expert with senior experience at corporations such as Micron, GlobalFoundries, Motorola and Texas Instruments.
“All of you have taken different paths so that you could continue your education at UT Austin,” said Bhat. “There were travel complications for international students who wanted to reach their families; there were visa complications when you tried to come back to school; and when you did manage to get back home, there were those online lectures.”
Bhat, who joined virtually from Singapore, continued, “None of this was easy, but there is one thing that this group has in common: One lesson that you have all learned is resilience. It came at a cost, and that’s what makes it even sweeter. You have all learned to be resilient. So where do we go from here? A new adventure awaits you. Your stories are just beginning.”
Feigenbaum asked the Class of 2022 to reflect on the hard work required to reach this accomplishment, including that first courageous decision to leave their home countries and take the leap of faith to pursue a degree at UT Austin during a global crisis.
Despite the seemingly endless obstacles, this class still managed to make it to graduation day, which marks both a finish line and a starting point.
Li Ji arrived at UT Austin from Shanghai, China, with hopes of earning a degree in actuarial science. Now, four years later, she is not only leaving campus with a bachelor’s degree but is also moving to New York City after landing a full-time job with a consulting company.
“Texas Global helped me a lot, especially with the job hunt,” said Ji. “Graduating as an international student, the process of landing a job can be difficult. I also really relied on the international advisors for legal help and general questions.”
After arriving on campus as a graduate student from São Paulo, Brazil, last summer, Luiz Roma is set to receive his master’s degree in information technology and management.
“I wanted to study technology and business, which is how I found that the McCombs School of Business is one of the best in the country,” said Roma. “Once I got here, I had an open communication with Texas Global and the ISSS team. Everybody was very helpful and showed me ways to understand the visa process, events for international students and several other things that helped me throughout my journey. I am so excited about my career moving forward.”
As the Class of 2022 prepared to go out into the world after graduation, Texas Global Director of Global Alumni Relations Fiona Mazurenko welcomed them to the vast UT Austin alumni community.
“As alumni of one of the world’s best and most recognized universities, you have access to an incredible network of more than 500,000 alumni across 180 countries,” said Mazurenko.
Underscoring the connections available to international graduates, Global Alumni Relations recently co-hosted a pre-graduation Global Alumni Panel and Resources event with Texas Career Engagement and Texas Exes to help international students learn about available resources, ongoing support and ways to connect with alumni in their communities.
“We want to contribute to your lifelong learning and celebrate your future achievements,” concluded Mazurenko. “You have committed staff, faculty and advocates here at UT Austin who will always be here to support your intellectual and creative interests.”