Afternoon rain pushed a welcome barbecue for 55 international freshmen inside, but the weather did not dampen spirits. On the second floor of Lakeside Dining Hall, Orientation Leaders gathered with their students for a final barbecue before the rest of the Class of 2023 arrives tomorrow. 

Freshman Michael Collier, a Honduras native who has lived in Raleigh for the past 5 years. 

“I’m stoked,” Collier said. “I’m tired from walking around from orientation, but forming these bonds with the other international students has been awesome. I’m so excited to start class.” 

Elon senior Diana Pinel Urrutia is also a Honduras native, and said she chose to be an orientation leader this year because of her personal experience coming to Elon. 

“I know how stressful and how hectic coming to America in general is,” she said. “I felt like I wanted to give a little piece back to Elon, especially since it’s my senior year, and to the international community which is close to my heart.” 

The class of 2023 includes 55 international students, from 25 different countries. 

While some freshmen are filled with excitement, they know that nerves will arrive soon. 

Rachel Code, a freshman with citizenship in both Canada and Greece, says it’s just been excitement since she arrived on campus on Tuesday. 

“I bet Monday night around midnight I’ll start to feel all the nerves,” Code said. “I think I’m mostly worried about finding my classes on Tuesday, but I hope all the friendly people at Elon will point me in the right direction.”

Madrid native Maria Torris echoed Code’s feelings, but is eager to begin her four years at Elon. 

“I’m excited about meeting all the American people,” Torris said. “Although translating classes from English to Spanish might be hard, it’s all just excitement right now.” 

Pinel Urrutia’s biggest piece of advice to her international students is to go to class. “A lot of students asked me if they actually need to go to class. A lot of them are in a dual degree program, so are here for two years. At their home universities, they don’t have to go to class, but here that is super important.”

Her biggest piece of advice to all students, is to simply enjoy the time they have here at Elon. 

“Just make the most of you Elon experience. It’s such a gift.”