American Culture, Baton Rouge, Life at LSU

LSU Global’s new students involved on campus already!

New students tour LSU's campus in August 2016.
 The LSU Global staff was eager for the newest members of the program’s family to arrive this fall, and the group has already started exceeding high expectations.

Fifteen students from eight different countries arrived to Baton Rouge for orientation eager, optimistic and flexible despite the storms and flooding in the area.

A few of the new Tigers — Anna Nikonenko, Carissa Ardiningrum, Charmi Varnamia and Jade Martindale — even volunteered this weekend to help residents affected by the flood before beginning their classes Monday.

“In Panama, I’ve always loved reaching out and helping my community,” said Martindale, a veterninary medicine student of South African descent born in Argentina before spending the past 15 years in Panama. “I feel that’s part of your obligation in the society where you live, so moving to this new area I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people, but also help people who were affected.

“I got affected by the flooding when my flight was cancelled and I had to spend the night in Houston, so seeing what caused that was really eye-opening.”

Said Leisha DeRiso, the program’s managing director: ““We are thrilled to have our newest LSU Global family members on campus. It was unusual circumstances, but they all arrived happy, calm and ready to begin their new college experience. The fact that they felt so welcomed in the community to volunteer to help residences affected by the flood during their first weekend in Baton Rouge is not only a testament to these students’ character, but also a sign of how eager they were to return that feeling of belonging. They truly learned quickly what being a Louisianan is all about – everyone is family.”

The new students are working toward degrees in 12 different majors.

And Martindale, Ardiningrum, Nikonenko and Varnamia haven’t been alone in their efforts to fit into and make an impact outside of the classroom.

Martindale and the trio of Panamanian friends Fernando Pinto, Juan Antonio Franco and Patrick McGowen, for instance, quickly placed their order of LSU football season tickets Wednesday morning when the packages went on sale to freshman.

“It’s just really cool to see these students get involved so quickly and try to find themselves here at LSU,” LSU Global Student Services Director Brian Webb said. “All the research obviously shows students who get involved on campus are more successful, and in the first six weeks, it’s crucial for students to figure out how to make their way on campus.

“That’s why all universities have an involvement fair and try to promote the different things going on on campus and how new students can get involved and find something that’s interesting to them. So it’s been really cool to see this group come in and right away try to find their place. We’ve had students get excited about football tickets, and we’ve had students go out and volunteer because they’re passionate about that. It seems like every day, a student walks in and wants to have a conversation about what kind of opportunities might be out there.”

Check out photos from the new students’ first days on campus!
Check out LSU Global’s big welcome to the group!



Ami Chang

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