‘I feel happy when I walk around campus. I feel at home.’

Maria Eduarda Borini Schroeder is a senior advertising major, minoring in psychology and design. She’s from Brazil and came to Kent State through the American Academy Program.

The American Academy (AA) is a dual-enrollment program offered jointly by Kent State University and the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUCPR), located in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil.

Schroeder had wanted to study abroad and had previously studied in Canada, before having the opportunity to come to Kent State. “I have no doubts that I made the right choice because of the high level of education Kent State has,” she said.

Arriving on campus

Kent State's Office of Global Education assists international students even before they first arrive on campus. The office provides a welcome kit, helps students get a FLASHcard and walks them through the details of life on campus. Speaking English as a second language, Schroder found the office’s staff to be exceptionally helpful in helping her fill out required documents and find a job on campus.

Schroeder described the people she’s met in the Kent State community as helpful and kind. “Honestly, the whole community is warm and nice, and I feel like home here, even though I’m not home,” she said.

“I feel like I belong here, and I really like the signs that are in some places (that read) ‘You Belong Here,” Schroeder said. “Every time I read that it was like ‘I needed to read that.’ I just think it’s pretty cool.”

Meeting people, making friends

Schroeder said that making friends with international students on campus feels easier because they’re all in the same situation. “We’re living the same thing. We miss our families. We want to belong. We want to feel home, too, even though we’re not, but we are,” she said.

She says that she has made some really good friends at Kent State that she considers her family here. “So, they support me. I support them. We can talk to each other and understand each other’s feelings,” Schroeder said.

American Academy LOGO

The Office of Global Education frequently hosts events that allow international students to meet and get to know each other. Schroeder shared that she enjoys these events as an opportunity to get together with students she knows from the American Academy and hang out with other students from around the world.

Schroeder admits that most of her friends are Brazilian, “because we have a lot of Brazilians here.” But she also has made friends on campus who are from India and Pakistan.

‘Follow your dream’ 

In giving advice to other international students who may be thinking about coming to Kent State, Schroeder said, “If it’s your dream, if it’s your goal, you have to risk it.”

She said that even if students are not feeling sure, she has had days that weren’t her best days. Sometimes she misses her family and her friends at home. “But the overall is just worth it, because you’re doing something.” Schroeder said. “You’re working towards your goal and your objective. So, it ends up paying off and being worth it to follow your dream, if it’s your dream.”

Brazil flag and PUCPR flag.

POSTED: Monday, January 30, 2023 12:33 PM
Updated: Friday, February 3, 2023 11:36 AM
Phil B. Soencksen