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Author: Karen Mountain

St. Andrews University is a home for many students from all over the world. The athletic program as well as academics allows students to come from many states and countries. These students, like many students nationwide, help local economy providing a boost to local economies.

Why come to America to study?  Business programs top the list.  With Information Technology coming in at the bottom.  These top 10 fields are readily available at colleges through the nation.  So why choose such a small school like St. Andrews?  What makes us different than everywhere else in America?

When the St. Andrews men’s soccer team traveled to Kentucky for an away game, and we were able to ask our international students about their experience at SAU to see if we could answer that question.  We received an interesting perspective from student athletes about the university and the city of Laurinburg NC.

Our first interviewee from Brazil, Pedro Paulo gave us his opinion about Laurinburg. He said, “at first, I didn’t really like it…the town seemed pretty empty. But, as I started meeting my teammates, I realized that the people in this place are really warm and welcoming, and now I really like it”.

We asked the same question to the senior Matias Fiorentino, from Argentina. His first impression of Laurinburg was complicated. He came from a very big city (Buenos Aires) with a completely different culture. He said: “It was difficult because I was alone, but in the meantime, I made a lot of friends who I can call family now. I created lots of connections over the world because of the students, and they make everything easier.” Friends had a huge impact on his experience.

Building a campus community where international students are fully integrated into the campus and social environment can benefit everyone.  A study (SEVP 2021) found that U.S. students who actively interacted with international students reported better self-confidence, leadership, quantitative skills, and overall intellectual growth. Later in life, these same students were followed up with and they were more likely to appreciate art and literature.  In addition, they could place current problems in historical context.  Lastly, they could reexamine their political and religious beliefs as well as reassess their beliefs about other races or ethnicities as current events occurred.


St. Andrews is a place where lifelong connections are made.  With these connections from all over the world, business connections can grow, and local economies can continue to flourish.  This small school is making the world closer knit and just a bit smaller.


  • Helms, R. and Spreitzer, S. (2021). INTERNATIONAL STUDENT INCLUSION AND SUCCESS: Public Attitudes, Policy Imperatives, and Practical Strategies. ACE America Council On Education. Retrieved September 28, 2022,