Abriel Thuc is a senior business major at Walla Walla University who was born and raised in South Sudan. He came to the United States in 2016 to attend Takoma Academy in Maryland and moved to College Place in 2019 to study at WWU. Thuc has always been passionate about basketball and was recruited at a high school tournament in 2019 to play for WWU. Thuc’s journey to WWU was also facilitated by a host family from Maryland who suggested WWU as the perfect place to pursue education and participate in sports.
Thuc shared that when he was coming to Walla Walla, he “didn’t really expect much, but all of a sudden when I came here, got a lot of support.” Since his freshman year at WWU, “a lot of people have been supporting me” and “it’s been great to be here,” explained Thuc.
Studying as an international student poses numerous challenges, such as surmounting language barriers, adapting to a new culture, and grappling with homesickness.
“It took me about a couple of years” to adapt to the new culture and overcome the challenge of being away from home, shared Thuc. Nevertheless, it has been “the best experience here at Walla Walla getting connected with people and also enjoying education,” described Thuc. Over the last 8 years of studying in the United States, Thuc was able to go back home only once during the summer of 2021, which was a memorable experience to reunite with family and friends.
The best memory from studying abroad was “learning a new culture” through studying, meeting new people, and getting connected to new values, described Thuc.
Even though there are a lot of challenges that come along with being an international student in the United States, Thuc noted, “I am very happy and I take this opportunity as a blessing from the people who helped me go through this.”
For international students considering WWU, Thuc had some advice: “My advice would be to always try to get connected with people. People are willing to help. There are a lot of opportunities here, and it’s easy to get help. So always try to get connected with people, and you will find a lot of support.”