Monday, August 15, 2016

Work at Maryville College

As a college student, many students experience a tight budget and may want to earn a little extra money by getting a part time job. Getting a part-time job is a decision that you should really think through. Some questions you should ask yourself is:

·    Does my visa status allow me to work at Maryville College?
·    Will I have time for a part-time job with my current class schedule?
·    Do I want to trade off time with clubs and fun activities for a part-time job?
·    Will I gain something from this job? New skills or competencies?

If you feel that working at Maryville College is right for you after answering these questions, here are some things to consider.

Students on F-1 visas and some J-1 visas may work up to 20 hours a week on campus during the school year. On breaks, students may work up to 40 hours a week. Many on-campus positions have lower limits to accommodate your school schedule. If you are eligible to work, you can try to find jobs through one of these methods.

a.       MC Connect is where most campus jobs are advertised, including work study jobs.  They are usually posted late August. You must make sure that the work position is not a federal work study position, as you won’t qualify for any of those positions.
b.      You should check with Metz Culinary for student positions. Metz Culinary is the company that runs the dining services for Maryville College.
c.      Mountain Challenge sometimes hires students. Contact Bruce Guillaume and he can explain his hiring process. It involves shadowing events and pretty extensive training.
d.      It won’t help immediately but applying to become a Resident Assistant (RA) or doing other leadership opportunities that might give you spending money like becoming a Peer Mentor or MC Ambassador may be an option if you plan on spending more than one year at Maryville College.

What if you don’t want or can’t be employed, but want to gain skills and experience for the career world? You can still have valuable experiences without having a job. Join a club or organization and ask if you can help plan or organize events or initiatives. Some great organizations to develop leadership skills are the Student Government AssociationGCO or the International Education Week Planning Committee. Want to improve your writing and communication skills, check out the Highland Echo or one of the other great organizations. There are many clubs and organizations that you can join and strengthen skills and gain experience for the “real world.”

Monday, August 8, 2016

Maryville College Academics

As you know, Maryville College has very high academic standards, and you will be expected to keep good grades. Although you may have your system of education figured out and know how to thrive in that environment, Maryville College may be quite different, especially from schools in Europe. Some important benefits and other aspects of Maryville College classes include:

-       Small class sizes. On average, your classes will be with few other students, perhaps about 20. Maryville College has a student:faculty ratio of 13:1, meaning for every 13 students there is at least one faculty member;
computer lab in lamar library with students working
Lamar Library Computer Lab
-       Expectation of class participation. Often times, your grade is dependent on your class attendance and participation. So you will be expected to complete your reading and assignments before class, so that you can actively contribute to class conversations. It is also important that you develop your own opinions on course topics, rather than just repeating things from the readings and assignments;
-       High level of interaction between students and faculty. If you need extra help in understanding the class material or just have a question that you may not have had a chance to ask in class, professors encourage students to reach out during office hours and after class. Professors are here to help you learn as much as possible, and they take their role very seriously;
-       Intensive amounts of reading, writing and assignments over the course of the semester. You will be expected to have readings and assignments done by the specified due date. You will need to demonstrate your knowledge on the topics throughout the semester, rather than primarily on final exams.

This may seem overwhelming now, but if you plan your time appropriately and ask for help when you need it, you will all do fine. All students may run into road blocks in some courses and may need extra help. Maryville College has many resources to help you overcome those road blocks, but each student is responsible for seeking help out when they need it. If you need help researching a topic for an assignment, librarians at the Lamar Memorial Library are always willing to help. You can email or call them with your questions, or you can set up a face-to-face appointment. There is also an Academic Support Center on campus. This center sets up group study sessions and has writing and math help. We highly encourage students to take advantage of these resources.

Mountain Challenge Tower - You can do it too!
Learning at Maryville College also extends beyond the classroom. There is an emphasis on experiential education at the College. Experiential education is typically a guided activity of some form, typically in an unfamiliar location or new task. Performing these activities allows students to adjust their mental and emotional process to the task at hand and develop new tasks. Many times, students participate in Mountain Challenge programming for experiential education, which gives students the opportunity to explore themselves while outdoors. The Center for Community Engagement plays a role in experiential education. Students can reach out to them to help find volunteer opportunities in the surrounding community. Some examples are tutoring, adult literacy, work in social service agencies, environmental projects, and many other possibilities. These are just a couple of ways that Maryville College students get involved. To see more options, click here

Monday, August 1, 2016

Maryville College Sports and Athletics

the mascot of the college is a scot, with plaid of orange and garnet
Maryville College Mascot
Maryville College loves sports! There's an option for everyone from the devoted athlete to the curious stander by. Sports events are also a great way to make friends and understand the culture of the campus, whether you're playing or cheering the team on.

Maryville College's mascot is the Scot and the school colors are orange and garnet. On game days, and especially during Homecoming on October 22, you will see students, staff and faculty alike wearing the school colors to support our teams.

Maryville College is home to 14 competitive sports teams. There are seven sports teams for women and seven teams for men. Games and competitions are often held at Maryville College, and you can go to support your friends on the team and also to learn about unique sports that you may not have in your hometown. You may have seen many TV shows or movies that feature American Football teams and cheerleaders, but you can learn about the real thing here at the college. You can find the schedule for all sports here.

If you want to try out a sport during your time here, there are teams on campus that are for anyone. Nearly two-thirds of students at Maryville College participate in some sort of sport or intramural during their time here, so its a great way to spend time with existing friends and meet new ones. Maryville College has recreational teams for students on campus in several sports, which are open to any student. Intramural teams play various teams on campus to become the reigning champions of club sports, such as flag football, sand volleyball, softball, table tennis among other things. In past years, I-House has even formed some teams in various sports and competed.

a group of students on paddle boards and kayaks
A group of students enjoying a Mountain Challenge event. 
If your not sure if intramural teams are right for you, you can join Mountain Challenge on any of their adventures or activities. On many Saturdays, they organize a trip or outdoor activity that students can participate in. Find the schedule here and be sure to sign up for trips one week in advance. On Wednesdays, they've started the initiative Camp 4, which is a designated time for students, staff and faculty to have access to Mountain Challenge fitness equipment, classes and the bouldering cave. Each Wednesday, there is a Group Fitness Class from 4pm to 5pm, followed by a yoga class from 5:15pm to 6:15pm. These services are available free of charge to MC students. They also have many other opportunities, so stop by Crawford House when you get to campus to learn more!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cultural Programming at CIE

There is no doubt that you will be kept busy while attending Maryville College. Through the cultural ambassador programming and possibly joining GCO, you will have a lot of exposure to activities. Sometimes you will want to be able to do fun activities with friends that you may not have to plan. And that’s where CIE comes in!
A group of MC international students at the Blue plate concert in Knoxville
A group of students at the Blue Plate Concert in Knoxville. 

Every month, CIE plans fun activities for all students – ESL students, international students and U.S. students.  We offer many events to learn about the USA.   In the past, we have celebrated U.S. American Cultural Holidays as a group at I-House. For example, last year we had a Christmas party for all students, but have done Halloween activities as well. One of our biggest events of the year is our annual Thanksgiving Dinner.  We celebrate with international students and our local social host families to learn about and celebrate this popular U.S. American holiday.  Students have set up international dance parties on campus and coordinated fashion shows. These events are fun and allow you to teach friends about your culture.

The stairs at international house decorated with Red Christmas Stockings
The stairwell decorated for
Other times, we offer the opportunity to learn about local Tennessee culture!  We explore the Great Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. I-House has adventured out to rivers for white water rafting or tubing and gone hiking in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Some years there have also been weekend trips to Nashville, Atlanta or other cities. These events are organized by I-House and students can sign up for a reasonable fee.

If there are any activities that you and your friends are interested in, you can tell the staff at I-House. Whether the idea is for an on campus program or off campus excursion, we can work together to see if the activity is a good fit for I-House programming. If it is a good fit, we can work together to plan the event for students to enjoy.

A group of students white water rafting
White Water Rafting
To help students out with more practical trips, I-House offers weekly shopping trips to local supermarkets and stores. Each Wednesday, you will have the chance to sign up to go to one local store for a short shopping trip. This allows you to get school supplies, some groceries or anything else you may need. About once a month we go to Knoxville to the international markets, or Pigeon Forge outlets, or a bigger mall in Knoxville.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Global Citizenship Organization

By Kristen Rolston

5smiling individuals are posing and their clothes are covered in colorful powder.
Kristen (center) and friends after the Holi
Global Citizenship Organization, or GCO, personally has felt like a family to me. I've met students from all over and each of them has very different personalities, but every single one of them is accepting and friendly. When I first came to Maryville our previous president invited me to join the leadership and he became one of my good friends – I still talk to him even though he has returned to Cyprus. One of my funniest memories is when I came to help make signs for our "world directory" post that stands outside of I-House, and all of the students kept asking me if I was the girl coming from Ireland because of my red hair. From then on, I met more friends than I thought I would and now have connections all over the world. I also have a language buddy to practice my Chinese with!

students are standing on a the steps in front of bartlett, wearing traditional clothing from many countries
Students at the International Fashion Show.
GCO is a Maryville College organization intent on helping MC students connect with other students from all over the world through visual presentations (dances, PowerPoint, panels, etc.). Any student is welcome to join and sign up for emails regarding organization events. Typically every Friday at 3:30 in Bartlett Hall, students put together a presentation on their home country or some cultural aspect of a country. When there isn't a presentation there
are lots of parties, dances, and activities to be had!
a large group of students are standing in front of a presentation screen. one is holding the armenian flag
Students attending a country

Some of our most popular events are Holi, the Love, Sex and Marriage Panel, Fashion Show and our themed dance parties. ​

Currently there is a leadership position open for any international student interested in being directly involved in organizing events. Below I have attached some pictures from some of our events and a link to our page:​.

Please like us and share our page!​

a group of students are outside throwing colorful powder up into the air. they are celebrating holi

Monday, July 11, 2016

Maryville College Cultural Ambassadors

At Maryville College, we want to help all students become active leaders in their community. To help International and Exchange students achieve this goal, the Center for International Education has the Cultural
a group of students with a lot of colorful powder on their clothes at the holi celebration
Holi Celebration 
Ambassadors program. Cultural Ambassadors are meant to get involved and have fun while sharing their culture with students, faculty and staff. Cultural Ambassadors will in turn learn about U.S. culture through active participation in at least one organization on campus. Through these activities, we hope that campus will have a strong presence of international leaders.  Every international and exchange student at MC is a Cultural Ambassador and shares her culture throughout her time at the college.

Each term, Cultural Ambassadors strive to share their culture on and off campus and to actively participate in an organization!

A group of international students at homecoming
Group of students at Homecoming
Many students share their culture on campus through the Global Citizenship Organization’s (GCO) cultural presentation times, in your resident halls or during international education week. There is a lot of flexibility in sharing your culture on campus, so students can also plan their own event or way of sharing. For example, perhaps you love to cook traditional food from your culture and want to host a small event teaching others how to cook a dish. If you have traditional clothes or items from your country that you want to share, remember to bring them with you to Tennessee. Staff at CIE are always here to help you brainstorm ideas and help put plans into action.  We will ask you to present your culture AT LEAST ONCE formally on campus, so be prepared!

Sharing your culture off campus can be done in similar ways. CIE organizes at least one off campus visit or fair per semester and you can plan to join in on those events. In past years, we have set up events with the Boys and Girls Club, Rotary Association, Alcoa Elementary School, William Blount High School, Clayton-Bradley STEM Academy or local churches.  You’re always encouraged to reach out to other organizations though and set up other small events or activities.
students sharing traditional chinese new year activities at isaac's
Chinese New Year Celebration at Isaac's Cafe

The last requirement is a fun one that will help you find your place on campus. You can join any organization you want and participate fully to fulfill this requirement. Participating fully means that you will go to meetings and be involved with at least one event each semester in your chosen organization. Being a member of GCO or the International Education Week Planning Committee may be a good option, but you could also join the Student Government Association or one of the many groups on campus (we’ll talk more about these groups in a later post!).  One of the best things about a small college is that there are many leadership opportunities within organizations right from Day 1.  Attend the Opportunities of a Lifetime Fair the 2nd week of class to get to know all the clubs.

The CIE is looking forward to seeing how each of you embrace your ambassadorship this coming year!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

New Student Billing

You likely received a message recently with information about paying your Maryville College bill.  I wanted to share a couple of pieces of information with you to help clarify that message.

Exchange Students: You don't yet have access to the portal they are talking about, and any fees owing are determined by your exchange agreement.  ISEP students will only pay the $200 refundable deposit.  You can pay this when you get here.  StudyUSA and World Learning students will have their fees paid by your sponsor organization.  

Degree-seeking students: (first year or transfer students)

  1. Late Fees: I have made arrangements with the Business Office to WAIVE the late fee as long as your bill is paid by registration on Friday, August 26, 2016. However, please make an effort to pay your bill in advance.  If you are planning to do a wire transfer, please do this before you leave your home country (or 2 weeks in advance)
  2. Insurance: All international students are automatically enrolled in the international student insurance plan.  IF you have insurance from your home country, you will need to show proof of current enrollment to Kirsten Sheppard or Micki Pruitt in the International House.  If you do this, they will take the insurance fee off your bill.  See below for the specific requirements for health insurance.
  3. Vehicle Registration Fee: If you will have a car, fill out this form: If you will not have a car they will waive this fee when you get here.
  4. Financial Aid: If you have a question about your financial aid, you will need to talk to the Financial Aid Office (FAY 141) or call 865-981-8100.
  5. If you have any other question about your bill, visit the Business Office (FAY 110) or call 865-981-8249.

Method of Payment

Full payment is expected on Registration Day.  If you are planning to pay by any method other than credit card, you will need to make arrangements prior to your departure.

Maryville College accepts the following forms of payment:
·        Credit Card: be sure that you contact your bank to allow for the entire amount owing to be charged at one time.
·        Wire Transfer: below is the information you need to make a wire transfer.  Plan to do this at least 2 weeks in advance.  You are responsible for all wire transfer related fees.  Be sure that your name is in the notes on the wire transfer. Contact for bank transfer information
·        Money Order / Bank Check / Travelers Checks (in US dollars)
·        Check from US Bank account

For F-1 degree-seeking students, it may be possible to make monthly payments towards your tuition and fees.  For more information visit:

MC International Health Insurance Policy:

F-1 students may bring proof of insurance from your home country, but it must meet the specifications below.

J-1 students must have insurance from their sponsor (ISEP, World Learning, IREX or Maryville College). 

If you are an F-1 student and have your own insurance, the insurance policy should be underwritten by a United States state-chartered corporation having an A.M. Best policyholder rating of “A” or above.*

The minimum coverage should provide:
Medical benefits of $100,000 per accident or illness
Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
Expenses associated with you and your dependents’ medical evacuation to your country in the amount of $50,000.
A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
Evidence of your insurance coverage has to be submitted to the Center for International Education upon your arrival and prior to initiating your participation in our program.

You will not be allowed to participate in any program at Maryville College if you and your dependents do not have the required insurance coverage. All students should, however, consider one’s own health condition, talk with one’s physician, and ensure that one has adequate coverage to meet one’s personal needs that may not be met by the Maryville College Health Insurance.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Welcome to Incoming 2016 Students

As you’re beginning to prepare for your time at Maryville College, you may be wondering how to find out a little bit more about what’s on campus and the surrounding area.

Maryville College is known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience, all while building a community of students, staff and faculty that will help you along the way.
picture of Barlett Hall atrium with international flags hanging
Bartlett Hall with flags representing all of the students on campus.
Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation in partnership with others. Founded in 1819, Maryville is the 12th oldest college in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Maryville College has about 1,200 students, representing approximately 40 states, the District of Columbia and 30 other countries. To take a virtual tour of campus before you arrive, go here and click on the “Tours” tab. You’ll be able to watch videos about the campus and do small photo tours for some buildings.

In Maryville, there are many things to do within walking distance. If you’re a coffee lover, you may want to visit Vienna Coffeehouse for a cup of Joe or to see one of their many live music performances. There are also many restaurants, cafes and shops downtown and beyond. In the early Fall and late Spring, Maryville hosts a small Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings where you can explore local produce, baked goods and other delicacies. If you like being active and outdoors, you’ll love Maryville’s Greenway, a system of biking and walking paths around Maryville and Alcoa. A short drive away there is also Foothills Mall, a small mall with shops, department stores, and a movie theater. In neighboring Alcoa, there are many shops, restaurants and supermarkets that are easily accessible by car.
Maryville Downtown
Maryville Downtown and Greenway

Outside of Maryville, there are many fun and interesting places to visit close by. Knoxville is just a 30-minute drive from Maryville and has many fun things to do. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is an excellent way to reconnect with nature and is a short drive away.

Get ready to explore this coming year because eastern Tennessee has a lot to offer!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Final Thoughts

Ten months ago, I was sitting in Dallas/Forth Worth airport, waiting on a flight that would change my life forever. Whenever we started boarding for the flight, I recall thinking to myself "What the hell are you doing?! Why are you willingly leaving behind your life and everything you know?" I wouldn't admit it to anyone, but I was terrified. You can read all the study abroad blogs and listen to all the advice your classmates and professors give you, but the fact of the matter is that you are never really sure what to expect out of the next few months or, in my case, year of your life whenever you're boarding a plane to study abroad.

So this is my life: Swedish-style
taco nights and Snapchat filters.
Little did I know, I would have the same feeling at Stockholm Arlanda airport waiting on my flight to return to the United States. Although I cried plenty during the days leading up to my departure, I managed to hold back the tears at the airport until the wheels of the plane left the ground. I started full on, ugly crying, screaming at myself in my head "This is wrong! This is where you belong, what the hell are you doing?!" 

Now that I've been back in the States for a few days, I don't quite know what to think anymore. I'm back in the environment I grew up in; everything feels so familiar, but at the same time, it all seems sort of new. Not a single moment passes by that I don't think of Sweden or the experiences or people I encountered there, but at the same time it all feels so far away. I feel like I'm stuck in limbo, somewhere between Sweden and the USA. I'm experiencing culture shock here the same way I experienced culture shock when I first arrived in Sweden. I'm in a constant daze, wondering when I'll snap back to reality.

I hope it's soon.

My girlllll
In a sense, so far I'm spending my days asking myself "okay, now what?" I left my life and so many of my friends behind in Sweden, so I almost feel like there's nothing left for me, which, again, is just how I felt during my first days in Sweden. I know that a lot of people were thinking that I took the easy way out by going to Sweden, a pretty homogeneous society that speaks English just as well as they speak their own language, but there's no such thing as easy when studying abroad. Some of the hardest, most difficult and frustrating days and moments of my life occurred when I was in Sweden. There were times when I wanted to give up, just pack up my things and come back to the States and never look back, but I had a solid support system that convinced me to do otherwise. 

January and February was really hard for me, and everyone knew that. I spent most of my time looking at the prices of flights back to Texas, telling everyone I would go home just for a visit, but most people knew that if I went just for a visit, I wouldn't come back. So instead, I went to Finland to visit Ida and Pauliina, and being with both of them made me feel like I was at home, safe and sound. (I just want to note I've started crying thinking about how much I miss both of them). 

After that, things got easier. I felt happier, but I still had to fight off some dark demons. This entire second semester was nothing short of an uphill battle, one I almost lost. 

I went to Finland for Ida's high school graudation,
now it's her turn to come to the USA for my
college graduation!
But I did it, I survived, and looking back, there isn't a single thing I would change about this entire experience, because it's shaped me into the person I am now, as cliche as that sounds. Now, I have to look forward to the future and consider how this amazing, life-changing experience will impact my life. Next year, I'm finishing up my degree, then, if all goes well, getting a job, ideally one at a university assisting students looking to study abroad and international students at the university (yes, I really did decide what I want to do as a career while I was abroad! I thought that only happened in stories!). Pauliina might visit in the winter, Ida might come to my graduation, and I'd love to go back to Europe to visit all my friends next summer. 

And none of this would be possible if I hadn't taken a shot in the dark and gone to Sweden for a year. 

So thank you, Sweden, for everything. You have a special place in my heart, now and forever.

En sista gång,
hej då!

- Lee

I miss you already, Sweden. I'll be back soon, I promise.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Anyway Here's Wonderwall

As I'm typing this, it's 1:34am, and I'm somewhere in the Baltic Sea. I'm headed to Finland by boat for two weeks of quality time with some of my favourite people, Ida and Pauliina, so I'm of course very excited about that.

Seeing as my ship will dock in Turku at 7am, I decided it would be a wise and responsible decision to go to sleep early. My cabin is inconveniently located a floor below the ship's nightclub, and the noise made it difficult to fall asleep, but once I was asleep, I didn't encounter any problems.

Until approximately ten minutes ago when the club, for some unthinkable reason, started playing Wonderwall (seriously, who plays Wonderwall at a club?)

This song in particular brought me out of my slumber, and once I realised what song was playing, the heartbreak I'd been fighting off for the past twenty four hours finally set in.

Arnaud, who I've mentioned many times in this blog, has a knack for the guitar, and, as cliche as it
sounds, one of my favourite things he plays on his guitar is Wonderwall. Hearing this song reminded me on the uncountable number of nights everyone was huddled up beside a bonfire or squeezed into a kitchen, listening to Arnaud strum this very familiar song while we all mumbled the lyrics to ourselves as he played. These are good memories. They're happy. I wouldn't trade these nights or these memories for anything in the world.

But hearing Wonderwall being played by someone other than Arnaud for the first time in (literally!) almost a year made me realise that yesterday, before leaving for Finland, I said goodbye to some of the greatest people I'd ever met. And it wasn't a "hey I'll see you when I get back form Finland" goodbye. It was a "five minute but still not long enough embrace while we talk about how happy we are to have met one another and promise we'll see each other again one day" goodbye. I don't want to say it was a final goodbye, but... it kind of was.

It's an odd feeling, and I'm not sure how to describe it. Bittersweet is perhaps the closest I can get.

It's bittersweet. I've spent the last ten months of my life seeing these people on almost a daily basis. It's kind of hard to believe that it's all over - just like that. It wasn't like last semester, when everyone avoided talking about leaving; this semester was the exact opposite. Everyone was asking everyone when they were leaving then frantically trying to find ways to squeeze in as much time as possible with everyone before we all depart. There were lots of late nights and group selfies, everyone trying to soak in as many memories as possible.

It's weird knowing that when I go back to Sweden, most of my friends won't be there anymore. They'll be scattered across the world again, just as they were before they came into my life and changed it in every way possible. I don't know how I should expect to feel when I get back, but maybe it's better that way. Maybe it's best that I don't think about the fact that I'll be pretty much alone when I return to the place I now call home as long as possible and instead enjoy the time I have to spend in Finland because I have to say goodbye to some pretty amazing people when I leave Finland as well.

The next month is essentially one heartbreaking goodbye after another, I suppose.

Anyway, here's Wonderwall: