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NMSU international education adviser helps exchange students

Date: 09/02/2014

Ask an incoming foreign exchange student about his or her most valued on-campus resource and chances are Clint Hourigan’s name will come up more often than not.

Clint Hourigan, an international education adviser with NMSU’s Office of Education Abroad, utilizes his many study abroad experiences that include Thailand, China, Spain and Korea to assist the 59 exchange students that NMSU is hosting this fall. (Courtesy photo)

As the Office of Education Abroad’s newest international education adviser, Hourigan communicates with the 59 exchange students that NMSU is hosting this fall, addressing their concerns with everything from class schedules to housing issues.

A class of 2012 NMSU alum, Hourigan has been with the Office of Education Abroad since the fall 2012 semester.

“I applied to be a peer adviser for the Global Village in the Vista del Monte apartments. I was living with the exchange students, creating programs for them for about a year, and it was one of the best years of my life,” said Hourigan.

His current position focuses primarily on the incoming exchange students and the outgoing students interested in Europe, Australia and the Pacific region. Hourigan advises students interested in those areas during an initial meeting, in which he informs students about the implications and costs of studying abroad. During a typical meeting, he takes the student’s major, interests and preferred location in account when recommending programs.

Beyond the required information, Hourigan dives into his experiences and offers students anecdotes from his personal travels and the opportunity to contact people with experience traveling in the student’s desired area.

Hourigan has a fair share of study abroad experiences, which include Thailand, China, Spain and Korea. He is a strong advocate for studying abroad, especially through ISEP, a program that guarantees tuition, housing and meals at NMSU price points.

The Office of Education Abroad typically sends out 350 to 400 students per year. The top European destinations are Spain and the United Kingdom, but students are able to choose any country that is not on the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisory.

Incoming students come from all over the world, including Brazil, Dubai, Japan and Germany.

“They absolutely love it here. Our reviews at the end of the semester are always top tier,” said Hourigan.

When preparing for a new semester, he organizes and approves the incoming student information and keeps the International Student Ambassador Club updated on incoming student arrival times and contact information.

The International Student Ambassador Club is a student organization, which pairs each incoming student with an ambassador, a mentor figure. Throughout the year, members organize various events and outings for the students.

“We have a buddy system toward each student. They partner up with the ambassadors to where they get welcomed upon arrival,” said Hourigan. “We feel that’s incredibly important because when arriving to a new place, the first impression is the most important. Our office, our department is incredibly proud of the local area. There’s something about the Southwest that’s just endearing.”

The ambassadors also do biannual fundraising where Hourigan aids with decorating the venue, scouting for talent and event hosting.

“The study abroad ambassadors do a ‘By Golly, We’ve Gone Global’ event and in the past both our ambassadors and exchange students have performed,” said Hourigan. “Getting 150 to 200 people there has just been such a great sight to see.”

For more information on the study abroad programs offered at NMSU, visit http://studyabroad.nmsu.edu/.

Written by Ada Ciuca

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