A new organization created by a group of upperclassmen in the McDonough School of Business is aiming to pave the way for a growing international student presence in the MSB.
The McDonough Global Student Association, headed by President Alicia Parodi (MSB ’12) and Vice President Quintin Eusebio (MSB ’13), was founded in October 2011 and currently boasts more than 60 active members. The group held its first event in November, when more than 90 students gathered to receive advice from international banking recruiters and MSB deans.
“I think Georgetown is one of the most international universities in the world and we didn’t have an organization that was for international, undergraduate MSB students,” Parodi said. “Our mission is to provide a platform for development, especially in professional and academic aspects, for international students in the MSB.”
The MGSA intends to aid international students in navigating the difficult bureaucratic processes that can hinder their attempts to secure student visas, on-campus jobs and summer internships. Members are in the process of composing a set of manuals and handbooks that explain these issues.
Another adjustment challenge specific to international students is the dramatic change in teaching styles between their home countries and the United States. According to Parodi, American universities emphasize participation in classroom discussions while international teaching norms tend to focus on direct lectures from teachers who might be offended by a student challenging them.
Parodi, a native of Peru, felt challenged by this new educational style during her first year in college.
“I was terrified when I found out that 20 percent of my grade was based on participation, when back in my country you do not discuss or debate in class.”
To combat this, the MGSA will try to communicate the differences between these educational experiences to incoming freshmen.
“We aim to help them with that learning curve, to make their experience more fulfilling,” Eusebio said.
As the young organization continues to build, the executive leadership seeks to grow in many directions.
“I think one of our biggest challenges is to keep up our momentum. At Georgetown, it’s so easy to get lost in the swarm of events held every week,” Eusebio said. “We want to build up our base and make our organization something that people can integrate with their lives. We realize that each and every one of our members has a story to tell and comes from a unique background.”