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

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.