The student population at Texas A&M University is comprised of more than 4,700 international students from nearly 130 nations. Through the International Student Services (ISS) offered at Texas A&M, international students are assisted with admittance into the United States, any special needs that they may require and transition into the culture and life in the United States. While the university makes a point to help with the facilitation of international students in as many areas as possible, there are some things international students must find out for themselves. International students Woojun Lee and Xuewei Chen discuss something of importance that can only be discovered through the Texas A&M culture – what it means to be an Aggie.
Woojun Lee, a sport management major from South Korea, traveled to the United States in 2010 to complete a masters degree at Texas A&M University. Lee is currently a 4th year doctoral student who hopes to one day inspire students to broaden their perspectives and expand their knowledge of the ever-changing world.
“When I was in South Korea, I was not at all familiar with Texas A&M University,” said Lee. “As I began to gain more knowledge and insight about the university, and more specifically about the sport management program, I became increasingly interested in becoming a student at Texas A&M and desired the opportunity to study under Dr. George Cunningham.”
Lee believes that being an Aggie means proudly choosing to identify himself as an extension of Texas A&M. Lee says he best represents what it means to be an Aggie when he presents at academic conferences where he has the opportunity to demonstrate to others how great the Texas A&M spirit is, and how proud he is to be identified as an Aggie.
Upon graduation, Lee plans to seek out occupational opportunities as an assistant professor in the United States and believes his calling is at the university level - an environment where he can relay valuable knowledge to others. Lee hopes to build an entirely new curriculum for his students in the future, and knows that the classes he has attended at Texas A&M, in addition to the immense support he has received from professors and his advisor, have prepared him to achieve his goals, address any problems that may arise and transfer his knowledge to others.
Xuewei Chen, a health education major from Shanghai, China, takes an interest in combining the traditional Chinese culture and the Western culture. Chen values her health and enjoys having the opportunity to spend time at the student recreational center that is available to students on campus.
“I had little knowledge about Texas A&M University until I had the opportunity to meet the previous dean of the Department of Teaching, Learning & Culture, Dr. Smith, as well as Dr. Cynthia Boettcher in Shanghai when they came to my undergraduate university to present a lecture. Without Dr. Smith and Dr. Boettcher, I might not be where I am today,” said Chen. “I chose Texas A&M because it is an incredible research-focused university and I had a desire to build my research skills. In addition, Texas A&M welcomes students from all over the world, and the International Student Service (ISS) is helpful in supporting international students along the way.”
Chen believes that the experiences she has had at Texas A&M are what makes her an Aggie. Chen says that the support received from students, staff members and professors acted as a constant reminder that although she is originally from another country, she is still an important component to the Aggie family.
Upon graduation, Chen plans to focus her energy toward furthering and conducting research, and says she is open to traveling wherever her future occupation may take her. Chen knows that Texas A&M has prepared her for a successful future, and seeks to take the research experience and knowledge she has gained during her time spent in the Health Education program, and apply it in future endeavors.
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