Staff Spotlight – Beth Mora
Beth Mora, International Student Life Coordinator at the Office of International Affairs, knew she loved to travel and experience other cultures after her study abroad experiences as an undergraduate student. During her time at Texas Tech, she had the opportunity to participate in two study abroad programs – a semester at the Texas Tech Seville Center in Spain and a faculty-led program to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. After graduating with a degree in History and Secondary Education, Beth continued her education at the American University in Washington D.C. where she received her Master's in International Training and Education. Beth taught middle school social studies for five years, during which time she also traveled through 11 Asian countries in 11 months. She joined the Office of International Affairs in August, 2017, where she continues to share her love of cultures by working with the international student community at Texas Tech.
What is your role at the Office of International Affairs?
As International Student Life Coordinator, my job is to support the international students at Texas Tech. I plan a lot of events to help students get involved in the Texas Tech and Lubbock communities. I send out a weekly email, so international students are aware of what's going on – whether it is events, scholarships or information about student organizations. Beth is the advisor for two international student organizations. One is the International Student Advisory Board, which is a committee of international students that identifies the needs of the international student community and how these needs can be addressed. The other is the International Student Council, which involves both international and domestic students. The students in this organization can join different committees that strengthen and support international life. Because of the help from the students in this organization, Beth is able to offer more opportunities to the international community. Beth also serves as an informal advisor for the international students at Texas Tech. She is available to help international students if they have any concerns or needs during the school year. She also administers several grant programs that have been established to help meet the financial needs of the international students at the university.
What are some of the student activities and events provided by the Office of International Affairs?
The big event coming up in April is the World Wide Showcase. This event gives the international students a venue to share their culture with the Texas Tech and Lubbock communities through dance, theater and music. It's like a trip around the world in one evening. It is a great experience for everyone involved, whether you are a performer representing your country, involved in the planning of the event or a spectator. We are also planning a Spring Break trip to the Texas Tech campus in Junction, Texas where we will do some hiking, tubing on the river and touring a nearby German town. Beth and the international students also help organize Culture Fest, which occurs in the fall. This festival showcases the food, crafts and music of the international student organizations represented on the Texas Tech campus. Each semester, she welcomes new international students to Texas Tech by arranging airport pickup and a welcome event.
What are some of the biggest challenges for international students at Texas Tech?
One of the hardest things for international students coming to Tech is adjusting to the individualistic culture here, which can make it hard for the students to connect to Americans. They can feel very lonely because many students come from cultures that are more community centered. They have to try to recreate that sense of community here, amidst the pressure of doing well in school and adjusting to a new culture. That's what we offer. The opportunity to plug in and build that community.
What is your favorite thing about working at the Office of International Affairs?
I am constantly inspired by the international students. They moved half a world away from their families and they have to acclimate to a new culture and language while trying to succeed academically. It's impressive to see their dedication, and getting to engage with them is the best part of my job! I learn from them every day and it is a joy to serve them in this way.