For international students SHU offers ups and downs

Photo courtesy of Ariadna Padron Di Bello

Part of the University’s mission statement is to focus on academic and ethical development in a diverse and collaborative environment. Seton Hall’s diverse student population represents 70 countries including Mexico and Panama.

According to Maria Bouzas, director of the Office of International Programs, Seton Hall’s mission in regards to enrolling international students is to prepare students to be leaders in their professional and community lives in a global society. International students Ariadna Padron Di Bello and Elian Zidan contribute their academic talent to the Seton Hall community.

Padron Di Bello, a dual citizen of Mexico and Panama, is a senior majoring in diplomacy and international relations and modern languages in Italian and French. She also is minoring in Latin American, Latino and Latina Studies. Hoping a career at the United Nations might one day be in her future, Padron Di Bello said she was attracted to Seton Hall for its diplomacy program and its proximity to New York City.

In the midst of enjoying her experience as an international student at Seton Hall, Padron Di Bello is also concerned about her nonimmigrant student visa for temporary stay (F-1 visa).

“This visa is only valid for the duration of my undergraduate studies plus a couple months right after graduation,” Padron Di Bello said.

The F-1 visa covers academic expenses: books, tuition, housing and travel expenses. However, Padron Di Bello cannot become employed to earn extra spending money.

“We are not permitted to work, the only exception would be a job on campus,” Pardon Di Bello said. “However, most jobs on campus are work study which are federally funded and we don’t qualify to receive economic aid from the federal government.”

Despite any obstacles her student visa has represented, Padron Di Bello remains optimistic and hopes to work for the United Nations or Panama’s foreign affairs department. Zidan, a citizen of Mexico City, Mexico, is a sophomore majoring in broadcasting and media studies and minoring in journalism and public relations.

Moving from Mexico to New York four years ago, Zidan said he was attracted to Seton Hall’s values and academic excellence.

“Seton Hall’s reputation is what attracts most international students,” Bouzas said. “Seton Hall doesn’t physically recruit overseas, so students learn about us overseas through word of mouth!”

Having an H-4 visa– the extension of his father’s working visa– Zidan has not faced any issues as an international student. In the summer of 2015, Zidan hopes to become a United States resident. Although committed to academics, both Padron Di Bello and Zidan are involved on campus in clubs and organizations. Padron Di Bello is a member of the Alpha Phi sorority and said she has found a new home away from home.

“I am very thankful that I decided to join a sorority which has given me the support of over 60 best friends and sisters throughout the years I’ve been here,” Padron Di Bello said.

As Zidan prepares for his focused future working for a television station, he dedicates his time to Pirate TV as a main anchor. He is also the associate producer of the SHUdent Style Watch fashion show. Zidan dubs his experience at Seton Hall as being the best years of his life.

“My experience has been great, I have met people from diverse backgrounds,” Zidan said. “I have formed a solid group of friends that I now consider my family.”

While Seton Hall impacts the lives of international students, those same students also play an important role in the University’s campus. Bouzas said international students offer a perspective outside of the American view, which is extremely beneficial to our students who may not be familiar with such views.

“Enrolling international students allows us to diversify our campus,” Bouzas said. “This gives American students the chance to interact with students of different cultures, values and opinions.”

Leah Carton can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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