skip to main content columnskip to left navigation

International Student Success

Student Access and Success Programs



RACHELRachel Kamnkhwani: Malawi

Moving to another country was a huge step for me and I was very anxious about how I was going to survive without my family and friends. The thought of living in a different environment where I was going to be the only one from my nationality was scary. However, I was so happy when I read an email about the IBB program and how it helps international students to settle down and make friends quickly. I applied for IBB instantly and the wonderful thing about it is that I got a quick response. I started communicating with my American Buddy, LeeAnn, before I even left my country. This lady is so amazing! My experience with my IBB group has also been wonderful. I have had an opportunity to hang out with the whole group a couple of times. It was great!  IBB gave me an opportunity to learn and appreciate other people’s culture. Through IBB I have met friends that I can always count on. I personally have had a great experience with IBB and I would recommend the program to international students who are hoping to join ETSU. 


ISNaomi Sugahara: Japan

Throughout my entire campus life at ETSU, I have had a great time with my buddy and my International Buccaneer Buddy (IBB) friends! I had no idea what to do or how to live in such a completely different world. However, my buddy helped me a lot so I could adjust to this new culture. He and his friend, for example, brought me to the mall. Thanks to them, I was able to get prepared for the first semester in the U.S. and enjoy hanging out together. We also shared some amazing moments by attending the IBB group activities such as a picnic and BBQ! IBB is the most amazing and fantastic group ever! Not only did we have the time of our lives, both in large and small group activities, but we spent many days going to the World Café and traveling with IBB friends during the break. I especially loved the Halloween season because there were many fun events such as Corn Mazes and costume parties. Overall, meeting international students from around the world through the IBB program motivated me to learn more about cultures of other countries. I will continue to seek out other cultures, and I will share my multicultural experiences when I become a teacher in Japan.




Reem Tariq: India

I was first introduced to the IBB program at the orientation. I didn't hesitate to fill out the form since it sounded like a great opportunity to meet more people. So far, my experience with IBB has been amazing. I was matched with my buddy, Aleigha, based on my outdoorsy inclinations. What started out as a partnership soon blossomed into friendship. I had the chance to meet Aleigha's wonderful family over Thanksgiving. In fact, I have met so many amazing people from all over the world through IBB. And I am incredibly grateful to Dr. Morrow and his team who work so hard to keep things running in this organization! IBB has become a significant part of my ETSU experience - one that I will cherish for years to come!



ISMutong Yang: China

After I saw the International Buccaneer Buddy Program through an e-mail, I applied for it without hesitation. And I am so glad that I made this decision which gave me an opportunity to meet my buddy Christa. We introduced ourselves thoroughly via e-mails. What surprised me is that she can speak and understand Chinese, which made our conversation go more smoothly. When I first arrived at ETSU, I felt a little bit depressed because of the culture shock. But Christa made me relieved, at least I got one American friend to talk with. Before the semester started, she drove me to Walmart, helped me select things, and gave me lots of useful advice. The time with her was all great and interesting! We’ve been to the mall, went hiking together, and had Chinese and Japanese food together. I send her messages when I’m in trouble and need some help and she’s always there to help. I don’t feel anxious or embarrassed while talking with her, even if I use the wrong grammar. She can still understand what I’m saying when I can’t express a word, and she will teach me how to say that word. By talking with her and sending messages to her, my English skills have improved a lot. I really appreciate that the IBB Program gave me the opportunity to know Christa, my first American friend. I think this program has not only helped me gain a friendship, but also improved my English skills and made me know more about different cultures!


ISHyacinthe Umwali: Rwanda 

When I got admitted to ETSU, I had mixed feelings; obviously I was super excited about the great program I was about to join; but I was also nervous about meeting new people and living in a city where I didn’t have any friends. Before I completely moved to Johnson City, I came for my Graduate assistantship interview; I was travelling from Little Rock Arkansas, and I got even more nervous because it seemed like it is in the middle of nowhere, far from all my friends. I first got acquainted with IBB when I got an email from my buccaneer buddy named Stephanie Bates. She introduced herself and told me that I should call her in case I need anything. She sounded friendly, and I was so glad that I had somebody to call in case I needed something. We met at the first IBB event at the CPA, and we got to talk a little bit and we had hung out on multiple occasions afterwards. She helped me feel welcomed not only at ETSU but also in Johnson City in general. Now I like Johnson City, it is a small beautiful city; I mostly like the outdoor options like hiking when the weather is permitting, and visiting places such as Jonesborough- a historic city. I am very grateful to the IBB program because it made it possible for me to meet as caring of an individual as Stephanie, and I would like to pay it forward to other students as much as I can.



ISFuki Azuma: Japan

I will never forget the moment that my host family and my buddy picked me up at the airport. I didn’t know anything about Johnson City, but they showed me around and helped me with my first shopping in America. New students have a lot of required processes to be an ETSU student. It was difficult, but they helped me. Without their help, I might not have been able to come. I think most international students worry about making friends in America. I was concerned about it, but my buddy has been great! She is my first American friend and takes me to good places. We spend a lot of time and make good memories together. Sometimes she introduces me to her other friends, so now, I am friends with a lot of my buddy’s friends! IBB is one of the great opportunities to make good friends. I really appreciate this program and the chance it has given me to meet my sweet buddy! 

icon for left menu icon for right menu