Coming to Fuqua has been my dream for as long as I can remember. Even with that dream realized, being an international student has come with its fair share of struggles. Here are a couple of my favorite tips and tricks on surviving and thriving as an international student.

Celebrate the Accomplishment

First things first, take a moment to be proud of yourself. You have traveled halfway across the world without your family, stepping out of your comfort zone to pursue your dreams. Take a second to be proud of yourself for making such a bold move.

Moving halfway across the world, away from home, isn’t easy to say the least but I’m happy to say that I found my home away from home at Fuqua. I cannot imagine my life without the friends that I have made along the way. It’s hard to believe that five months ago, they were complete strangers. Each and every person at Fuqua is loving, caring and will go out of their way to help you in any way they can. From the faculty to the students, Fuqua truly embodies the spirit of family.

Embrace the Community

One thing I can say for sure is that if you completely open your heart to the possibility of belonging to a new place, Fuqua will embrace you in every sense of the word. Team Fuqua isn’t just a hashtag, it’s a feeling. My first experience with Team Fuqua was when we were assigned to our teams at orientation. Today, my team and I have bonded over the best experiences together. We have gone for meals where we have made each other try food from our respective countries. One of my favorite memories with my team was going to a hot air balloon festival in nearby Raleigh. These experiences not only made us closer as a team but also helped us work better academically.

international student Renna and two friends at the hot air balloon festival

When I say there is no place like Fuqua, I mean every word. I distinctly remember tearing up at orientation when Dean Bill Boulding emphasized how important it was to be a good person, or as he said it, to have a high ‘decency quotient,’ rather than only focusing on our academic and professional endeavors. Unlike other business schools, which primarily focus on being the best academically, Fuqua cares about us being genuinely good people and integrating values that will stay with us forever while striving for academic and professional excellence.

Five months in, I am beyond thrilled to belong to Duke. A place like no other, and most definitely my home away from home. A place where every student feels accepted and loved. A place where we strive for academic excellence but never forget the importance of being a good person.

The Hard Work Will Pay Off

As I write this, I cannot believe we are halfway through the program. It saddens me to think that in a couple of months we will bid farewell to Fuqua. My last bit of advice to every international student out there would be to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel and all that hard work is going to be worth it. I consider myself grateful to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

international student Renna and three friends at a Duke Football game