Social unites students from all over the map

August 26, 2019 / by / 0 Comment
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Students coming to GCU from out of state or around the world were able to put a pin on the map to indicate where they were coming from. (Photo by Elizabeth Tinajero)

By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau

College is a time best known for allowing students to gain more independence and venture out on their own for the first time without their parents. For Lopes attending Grand Canyon University’s international and out-of-state student social Friday afternoon, that opportunity to go out on their own brought them much farther than a car ride away.

For Jessica Kontrec, her educational journey has taken her from her home in France, first to Minnesota for her freshman year in college and now to GCU to complete her undergraduate degree.

Stephanie Gonzalez, Jessica Kontrec, Tori Tovar and Dalia Tovar (left to right) got to socializing at the international and out-of-state student social.

“I wanted a warmer place,” Kontrec said. “I was looking at the campus online and it just looked like a lot of fun, like there were a lot of opportunities to get involved with people and meet people.”

Meeting people is exactly what Kontrec did when she finally arrived on campus.

“I’m a pretty shy person, but even from the beginning it (Welcome Week) gave me some people to hang out with,” she said.

Freshman Dorian Phillips spent more than half of his life in Okinawa, Japan, and the rest in California, before coming to GCU. He’s looking forward to another new adventure. 

“I love being away from home,” he said. “This is the first chance that I actually get to try to do things on my own, and it’s such a great place to be at.”

Trevor King, Dorian Phillips, Jenna Grettenberger, Christian Chacon and Ethan Macalaguin (left to right) met several fellow out-of-state students.

Phillips was one of several students at the mixer who traveled and moved a lot as a child, in his case because of his parents’ occupation. Sisters Tori and Dalia Tovar, back on campus for their senior year, had the same experience, moving more than 18 times both within the U.S. and to countries such as India, Panama and Venezuela.

“Since coming to GCU, it’s the longest I’ve been in one place for most of my life,” Dalia said. “This is going to be my fourth year in one city, so it’s really exciting for me to have that connection.”

The social gave students a chance to share their stories and provided an environment for them to meet other students who can share in the nervousness of coming to a new state and sometimes a new country.

“The time that they get to spend here, whether it’s four years, whether it’s two years, we want them to cherish the memories, we want them to cherish the friends and the moments that they make here,” Associated Students of GCU President Samuel Yonan said. “I hope that they take away that they’re welcomed here, that we’re excited to have them here, that we want to make this the best opportunity of their life.”

Contact GCU staff writer Ashlee Larrison at ashlee.larrison@gcu.edu or at 602-639-8488.

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