My first semester at Stony Brook, I applied to be an International Student Ambassador. ISA’s are individuals selected to assist new international students during orientation. Our job is to greet new students with a smile, letting them know we are there for them and to lead them in their transition to college in a new country. Some of our responsibilities during orientation week include welcoming students the moment they arrive in the United States at JFK Airport and facilitating student success workshops.
To me, being an ISA is more than just an opportunity to perform a service to others. ISA allows me to be the first face incoming students see in a completely unfamiliar environment. When they might be overwhelmed with questions and totally unsure of what to do next on their new journey, I can be the first beaming face to make these students feel welcome and safe. You always remember the first people who are eager to help you out in your time of need.
I love being an ISA because in just a short amount of time you form tight lasting bonds with your coworkers. With friends by your side, you get to impact the lives of other individuals and put a smile on their face as you guide them in the right direction. Being an ISA, I get to learn from my coworkers about how to better help new students. Being surrounded by other individuals who are like minded in wanting to lead makes you a stronger person who is more willing to strive through obstacles to assist others.
I believe that ISA has molded me into the type of person who wants to go the extra two steps to help a lost individual out. It has made me more outgoing and outspoken. It has made be kinder and trained me to approach everyone and everything with a smile. I love being an ISA because it has taught me so much about the kind of person I want to be. Being an ISA allows me to see students who have traveled far and beyond to start the new chapter of their life which lets me feel like I am holding the world in my hand and that absolutely anything is possible.
All photos courtesy of Ananta Singh