International Student Success Initiative Marks One Year of Progress

The International Student Success Initiative, a groundbreaking program aimed at aiding international, missionary, military, and ESL students in their transition to American culture, celebrated a successful first year. Launched in August 2022, this initiative has already made a significant impact on the lives of these students as it helped foster a sense of belonging and support.

Navigating college life and academics is already challenging, but international students face additional layers of complexity.  What is it like to be an international student at Maranatha? How do missionary kids who’ve spent years in Haiti learn to adjust to campus life in a dorm in the Midwest? Or how does a student from Papua, New Guinea learn to navigate Walmart? These questions underscore the significance of the International Student Success Initiative’s role in facilitating a smoother transition to university life.

Understanding the unique challenges faced by students who come from diverse backgrounds, the core leadership of the International Student Success Initiative comprises esteemed faculty and staff members who possess deep insights into the needs of these students. The core leadership team includes Dr. Licht, Vice President of Academic Affairs; Dr. Goodwill, Dean of Students; Angela Morris, Chair of the Department of Humanities; Jamie Saxon, Spanish teacher; Kathleen Price, Director of Maranatha’s Student Success Center; and Dr. Love, Bible faculty and missionary kid.

As Angela Morris, Chair of the Department of Humanities, and a key member of the core leadership team, aptly puts it, “We understand that growing up overseas, frequently moving, learning in a different culture, speaking English as a second language, or being an MK can all add challenges to your social and academic efforts. Maranatha wants to help you overcome those barriers.”

Testimonials from students in the program highlight the immense impact it has had on their university experience. Felicia Harmon, a missionary kid from Uruguay, expressed her gratitude, saying, “Some of my best friends on campus are from this group. I love having the chance to bond with these people and support each other as we better learn how to adapt to living in the United States.” She further highlighted the meaningful connections established between students and staff members through intentional interactions, fostering a sense of community that goes beyond the classroom.

The program’s success has prompted the university to actively invite more students to join this transformative initiative. “When you join this group, you are welcomed and looked out for. I am very grateful to all the hard workers that have made this group a reality, and I cannot wait to witness more students being encouraged through this ministry as I have been,” Harmon added.

Maranatha Baptist University continues to uphold its commitment to providing a nurturing and inclusive environment that enables students from all walks of life to excel in their academic pursuits while embracing a new culture. The success of the International Student Success Initiative reaffirms the university’s dedication to fostering a sense of community and support among its diverse student body.

If you know of a student who could benefit from joining the International Student Success Initiative or would like to learn more about the program, please contact Angela Morris.