Finding your place in this world can be difficult; finding your place in this world, after moving halfway across the world, can seem impossible. S Anandavalli (Valli), however, is one of UNC Greensboro’s promising international students who is proving that the support of UNCG can turn a fearful transition into an endlessly fulfilling opportunity.
Valli was born in Coimbatore, India, and raised in the capital New Delhi. She came to the United States in 2014 and is currently seeking her PhD in counseling and counselor education through UNCG’s School of Education.
“UNCG has offered me a conducive environment to grow as an international graduate student. The international community on campus is very strong and united, offering one another unconditional support and safety,” attests Valli. “Community groups such as the Piedmont International Fellowship and iStudentsGSO have also been fabulous in creating a community space for international students.”
Piedmont International Fellowship, who partners with UNCG, and iStudentsGSO are just two of several resources that international students can access. Both host events and activities which allow students to foster relationships, seek guidance, and explore the local area without alienation.
Additionally, Valli has found financial support at UNCG. One important source of aide came from the David G. and Nancy J. Armstrong Graduate Students’ Scholarship in Education Fund. Coincidentally, the late David G. Armstrong served as UNCG’s dean for the School of Education from 1997-2001.
“To my family, the donors’ financial support has been a transforming experience. Although I come from an upper middle class in India, affording American education can be a bridge too far,” Valli admitted with gratitude. “My family and I thank them wholeheartedly.”
David and Nancy both spent most of their adult lives working in education, and through their commitment to UNCG and students like Valli, they have furthered the field indefinitely. By chance, the former dean may have also aided in expanding the UNCG School of Education workforce.
After graduation, Valli intends to join the faculty. She has taught multiple courses thus far, but her agenda is to advance multicultural counseling and tackle the hurdles of training self-aware prospects to deal with diverse groups. Valli’s thesis Experiences of International Students of Color: A Critical Perspective was a finalist in UNCG’s 2018 Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, and her commitment to her studies has branded her an Emerging Leaders Fellow for the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (SACES) and an Emerging Reviewer for the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development (JMCD).
“I thank UNCG and the Counseling Department for offering me a life-changing experience,” Valli expressed. “I say with deep gratitude that at UNCG I found my professional calling and purpose, thanks to a community of committed faculty, students, and staff.”
Story by Brittany Cameron, Donor Relations
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