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Meet Our Orientation Assistants

Center for International Programs takes pride in our International Student Orientation assistants and all they do to make the process of coming to USI a welcoming and memorable experience.

Our leaders work one-on-one with incoming international students.  Greeting new students, helping organize fun activities, and ensuring new students feel welcome at the University of Southern Indiana.

Orientation Leaders are more than just mentors. Our Orientation assistants are the face of the University of Southern Indiana and an example of our lifelong internationalization program throughout USI.

Gabriela Fernandez, Panama

Psychology major with a minor in Cognitive Science

I am the president of the Spanish Club and work as a student worker for the College of Liberal Arts and as a research assistant at the Psychology Lab at USI. Outside my USI life, I enjoy traveling and watching movies and TV series! I love superheroes and everything related to pop culture! Also, you will always see me on campus with my headphones on. I love listening to music! I decided to be an international orientation assistant because love to learn about other cultures and help others to adapt to being abroad. I know what being an international student is like and I am passionate about helping others, so I really enjoy guiding new international students in this important stage of their lives. 

Ivys Quintana, Panama

English Teaching major

I have been an International Student Orientation Assistant since 2021. Some facts about me are that I enjoy traveling, reading webcomics, and spending time with my cat. I decided to be a student assistant because I wanted to help new international students to adjust to USI by sharing my knowledge as a fellow international student. Being a student assistant helped me develop leadership skills, learn about different countries, and increase my cultural awareness. However, the most rewarding benefit of this position is making unforgettable memories and special friendships with international students

Mariam Kenu, Ghana

Business Administration Major

 I decided to become an international student orientation assistant to help other international students like me seamlessly adapt to the culture here at USI and the US as a whole. By being an orientation assistant, I have been able to grow my circle of friends with people from all over the world, sharing and learning new cultures. Being a foreign person in a country can be overwhelming and sometimes intimidating; however, I am glad I can help others with the resources and information they need to get over this feeling. Fun facts about me, I do not know how to ride a bike, and I speak four languages fluently.

Marvin Acosta, Panama

Civil Engineering Major

I decided to become an international student orientation assistant to help all the new international students who are doing their transition to USI and to connect with them and their culture. Being alone in a new country sometimes is difficult, but when you are with friends, nothing is bad at all. This is a fact that I always tell the new students when I meet them for the first time because friends are the only ones who can make you feel like you're home wherever you are. Fun fact about me, I do like to go to the gym and sometimes I cut my hair by myself.  

Fernando Jaén, Panama 

Biology Major

I decided to become an International Orientation Student Assistant because I recognize the importance of having someone to help and guide new international students in their transition to USI. When I came here, everything was very intimidating because the whole experience of leaving my country was new for me. Thankfully, I had the support of other students who helped me to face that new stage of my life and become a confident student, with all the resources I need to succeed. Now, I want to be that student who helps others. I'm very excited to have this new experience in which I'm willing to give my best, but also to enrich myself with the learning and experience of helping others.-

Miguel Pinto, Panama

Electrical Engineering Major

When I first arrived in Indiana as an international student, I felt lost and uncertain about what to do. Fortunately, the International Orientation Assistants were there to answer all of my questions and make me feel secure. As a result, I decided to become an orientation assistant myself in order to provide the same level of comfort and support to new international students. Over the past two semesters, I have had a great time in this role, making new friends from around the world and learning about different cultures. As someone who loves to travel and try food from different countries, I am always excited to hear about where my fellow students come from and what their favorite dishes are. 

Linh Nguyen, Vietnam

Business Administration Major

I became an International Orientation Leader because I love meeting new people and learning everyone’s stories. This position allows me to meet students from all over the world with various backgrounds and diverse stories that I’m so excited to learn about. I also love helping students feel more comfortable in their new environment. I immigrated to the United States in third grade, and my peers really helped me feel a sense of belonging and feel more comfortable in my new home. I want to support new international students in a similar way and am really excited to meet everyone in this program and learn more about their stories!

Melanie Cedeno Morales, Panama

Electrical Engineering Major

“Being an International Orientation Assistant is a unique and memorable experience that I recommend to every student who wants to gain leadership and social skills. It put me out of my comfort zone at the beginning, but I started to like it and to be more comfortable with it because there are many positive outcomes. I connected with people from all over the world. International students teach me how to see the world from a different perspective, and every time I learn something new about them and their countries. Helping them adapt to the USI community and the United States makes me happy, and I love doing this job because it does not feel like a job. Seeing happy faces and making students feel welcome and appreciated in this community is what I enjoy doing.”