Utah Tech Crowns International Royalty

By Kaylee Cluff

For Utah Tech International Student’s creating a home away from home is especially important, as home for them is more than just traveling across state lines and often requires traveling across oceans and continents. The International Student and Scholars office provides a welcoming environment that encourages a sense of belonging for International Students.

The International Student and Scholars office’s goal is to support all International Students from application to graduation and create a headquarters for immigration guidance, academic resources, cultural connections, and social events.

One of the biggest social events for International Students is Utah Tech University’s International Showcase.

The International Student Showcase is a celebration of cultures and talents from across the globe. Crowned international students are granted scholarships as encouragement to strive academically and be proud of who they are and where they come from.

This year three winners were crowned – Alvaro Lopez, from Peru, won People’s Choice, Ives Hong, from Vietnam, won Judge’s Choice, and Amina Furuta, from Japan, won the runner-up award.

“Giving international students a community while away from home is crucial for their academic success, mental health and overall well-being,” said Tosha Onani Assistant Director of International Student and Scholars. “International students often face culture shock, language barriers and isolation, which can lead to poor academic performance or even failing or dropping out.  By creating a supportive community, international students can feel welcomed, valued and understood.”

“I would say competing was the most fun I’ve ever had. It was the first time I’ve ever performed on stage, so it was also very nerve-wracking,” said People’s Choices Winner Ives Hong

Judge’s Choice, and People’s Choice winners receive $1,500 scholarships and the runner up receives a $500 scholarship. “The community the International Office provides boosts students’ confidence, motivation and engagement both in their studies but also socially. Our office provides a community that provides practical assistance, such as housing, transportation, job opportunities, as well as social and cultural activities that help students adapt to their new environment, make friends and experience new things,” said Onani.

“I’m simply proud that I got to compete as I truly believe that the International Student Showcase is one of the most outstanding events on campus. We had so much culture and talent on that stage that night,” said Hong. “I hope the shows continues to grow and more students get to see how awesome us internationals are.”