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Apr 08 2013

International Students Tell of their Extraordinary Journeys to NYIT

(New York, N.Y., April 8, 2013) - It is no ordinary journey for international students to leave their home countries and study in New York.

No Ordinary Journey winners 2012 Along the way, many encountered loneliness that slowly turned to excitement; others experienced isolation that dissolved into confidence and a sense of belonging. Most perceived the chance at education in the U.S. as a golden opportunity; a lifeline even, as the economy and stability of one’s mother-country disintegrated.

These are some of the emotions laid bare, and the hopes and dreams revealed, by international students at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), through the essays they entered in an annual contest. Designed to help international students celebrate who they are and share their personal journeys in adjusting to a culture different than their own, NYIT’s Office of International Education created the “No Ordinary Journey” student essay contest, now in its fourth year. The contest invites students to tell their stories about new situations and adjusting to a new environment and way of life, as well as share moments of personal growth and coming to understand life in New York.  

Nearly 40 international students wrote about their experiences, the largest number of entries to date. The competition, which concluded during International Education Week last fall but whose awards ceremony was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy, is part of an outreach effort to encourage the students to find their voices at NYIT—while adapting to an entirely new way of life in New York.

Barbara Multari, NYIT Director of International Education, said to the students, “Your strength and courage never cease to amaze me. You have all taken not just a step, but a giant leap of faith when you came here. You left family, friends, maybe even jobs to come to a new culture, environment and new life. While we all are unique, we are much the same. We are all on this wonderful, exciting journey we call life and it our responsibility as human beings to help each other through it.”  Multari shared these comments at a celebratory luncheon in honor of the contest participants and judges from the NYIT Office of Campus Life. 

This year’s top winners are:

  • Thulani Ngazimbi from Zimbabwe, Class of 2013, a candidate for an M.S. degree in Energy Management and an Advanced Certificate in Environmental Management this May (pictured at right, above). 
  • Smita Paraswale from India, Class of 2013, who is working towards completing an M.S. degree in Computer Science this December (pictured at left, above).  
  • Xinlu Chen from China, Class of 2013, who is studying to receive an M.A. degree in Communication Arts this December (pictured center, above). 

“The journeys we all take may not be paved with the same stone, but it is with our strength of character, and our willingness to take the helm, even when we lose control, that we can one day correct our course, and at least have a chance at becoming something great,”  Thulani Ngazimbi wrote in his first-place essay. 

About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 14,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.

Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, more than 92,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit New York Institute of Technology at


Elizabeth Sullivan
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