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Carlos Soto-Bello (center) celebrates his 2017 OVU graduation with friends and family

Vienna, W.Va.—Students from 24 foreign countries enrolled in the fall at Ohio Valley University for the 2017-2018 academic year. The OVU campus is the center for learning for 77 international students comprising 17.6% of the overall student body. Graduate student Carlos-Soto-Bello shares his experience as an OVU international student athlete.

Carlos Soto-Bello, Class of 2017, came to OVU as an 18 year old kid, familiar only with life in Mexico City. Understandably, he was apprehensive about attending a private Christian university in America. Now, he says, he is so glad he did.

By the end of high school, Carlos knew he wanted to study in the United States. A friend who had gone to an American school shared some of his experiences, reinforcing Carlos’ desire. An athletic agency connected with an OVU coach, and soon Carlos was on his way to “wild and wonderful West Virginia.”

Since Carlos’s father had worked in the business world, Carlos chose that as his field of study. After four years of undergraduate studies with what he calls “patient and knowledgeable teachers” who helped him refine his goals for the business world, he has decided to continue at OVU for his master’s work. In his words, “OVU is like home to me now. It’s a familiar support system that I trust. I want to contribute to its continued success.”

To the faculty and staff at OVU, Carlos says, “Thank you for being patient and understanding when I was new to America and didn’t know anything about your culture. Thank you for being kind to me when I was struggling with learning English.” With his family thousands of miles away, the support and assistance of everyone at OVU were essential as Carlos grew as an athlete, student, and young Christian professional. Together, this influence made a critical difference in his life.

Of his fellow students, Carlos says, “I have made friends here that I can’t imagine my life without… I have had so much unexpected encouragement from so many.” Just one example is the peer tutoring he received as a freshman, still uncertain about his command of English and bombarded by reading and writing courses. In addition to his thanks, Carolos offers these words:

Congratulations to all of us for surviving both our formal and our informal educations over the past years. We learned algebra, but we also learned that we really need to obey alarms in the morning. We learned about Biblical poetry and parables, but we also learned practical lessons such as how to be patient with each other and with ourselves. We learned how to take advantage of academic and professional resources around us, how to do laundry on our own, and how to schedule our time wisely. Congratulations to all of us for taking advantage of this amazing investment into our futures.

As to potential students, Carlos doesn’t underplay the difficulty of adjusting to college, making, as he believes, the choice of the right college all the more critical. In general, the college experience helps students look to the future and select a suitable and successful career, but the ideal college does more. Maturing “well-rounded young professionals” is invaluable and essential, according to Carlos. And since attending college changes people, Carlos cautions, the environment of the campus must contribute to a positive change.

In closing, Carlos offers this endorsement: “For me, OVU was an incredible source of growth, knowledge, and friendship that I needed to become who I am today. I hope that you will let it do the same for you.”.

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Chartered in 1958, Ohio Valley University is a faith-based, residential, liberal arts college founded by members of the Church of Christ. Students of all faiths are accepted and encouraged to apply. The university offers a variety of baccalaureate and master’s degrees to students from 26 states and 25 nations. To learn more visit www.ovu.edu.