At St. Edward’s, we provide a global experience right in the heart of Austin. Our commitment to celebrating the unique strengths and talents of all individuals has created a campus environment that is rooted in inclusion and driven by cross-cultural collaboration. 

On campus, you’ll meet and learn from students who represent 59 different countries and speak 46 different languages, allowing you to broaden your worldview while exploring one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. 

We recently spoke to Melody Borg ‘25, a double major in International Business and Management, who came to St. Edward’s from France in 2022, to learn more about how her time as a Hilltopper is preparing her for a global career. 

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

What inspired you to move to Austin to pursue your education?

I went to a Holy Cross high school in Paris. I hadn’t planned on studying in the United States, but I heard about our partnership with St. Edward’s, and I just love the diversity of the Holy Cross mission. It has these values of doing your best and helping out, and connects cultures all over the world. I was offered a scholarship, and I decided it was time for me to try it out. 

What was it like starting your educational journey in a new country?

The first day I arrived in Austin, I was so excited. My American roommate picked me up from the airport in a giant car like we don’t have in France. It was so funny! We came back to our dorm and started talking. I was not that fluent in English at the time. It was a challenge, but I was so excited and positive about it. I was smiling, talking with my hands, and people could understand me. Over time I improved, and now communication comes way easier. 

Since then I’ve met a lot of amazing people, both Americans and international students. I’ve learned a lot, and now I feel like I’m thriving. 

What support systems were available to you to help in your transition to campus?

I was immediately welcomed by the St. Edward’s spirit! It’s really welcoming, and the size of the school is great for international students. Classes have a small ratio of professors to students, which is really helpful — especially when you’re learning in another language. If you don’t understand what the professor is saying in class, you can always ask a question. 

The Office of International Student Services and Support was also really helpful. When I was stressed about my paperwork, I could always turn to them, which really reduced my stress.

Melody Borg
Student Melody Borg with her friend at ACL

What are some things you got involved in that helped you build community on campus?

As a student, I have three on-campus jobs, I’m in two clubs, and I love it I’m always doing something! My very first week on campus, I joined the International Student Association, which allows international students to network, bond, and share their culture with others. Over time, I played a huge role in building up the club with more members, and now I’m the club’s Vice President and Marketing Coordinator.

I recently helped plan an international student showcase, where all club members hosted a table sharing food from their country. I made French crêpe and quiche! Anybody could walk over to eat, talk, and learn. It was a great experience because the food you showcase means something to you. You learn how to cook with your family, so your food brings back memories you can share with others that are linked to your culture. Through sharing, we taught others and ate delicious food together that made us more relaxed to talk about ourselves.

I’m also a member of CABRA, the University’s student-run fashion magazine. Right now I’m helping to coordinate a student fashion show with the Office of Career Services (where I also work part-time) to plan a fashion show that showcases professional attire.

It’s so important for international students to get involved because you’re pretty much by yourself here. Getting involved helps you create connections, and that’s what you need to succeed. 

What have you enjoyed the most about living in America?

Having an American roommate has helped me to have a really American experience. My first day here I had Chick Fil-A. I thought, “Wow, fried chicken with buns — that’s so American!” I’ve also been able to visit my roommate at her parent’s house in San Antonio, and we’ve visited other places like Corpus Christi. I really like the welcoming vibe of Texas. People are always smiling. You can talk to anyone and they won’t think you’re a scary stranger. People are going to welcome you, even if they don’t understand your accent. 

How has your experience at St. Edward’s prepared you for your future career?

I’m studying International Business and Management, and St. Edward’s has connected me with internship opportunities that are setting me up for success. My first internship was with Colton House Hotel in Austin last summer. I got that opportunity through a St. Edward’s program called the Student Success Austin Impact Program. I was connected with recruiters according to my preferences and interviewed with different companies. Through that internship, I realized that I love learning constantly, sharing ideas, and being creative. It also helped me learn how to communicate with a team of professionals.

It can be very stressful finding internships as an international student. I must have applied to 80 to 100 internships. But I worked with the Office of Career and Professional Development to prepare my resume and hone my interview skills, and eventually I was offered an internship at SpartanNash in Grand Rapids, Michigan for this coming summer. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to experience life in a new city!

What are your future goals, and how is St. Edward’s helping you reach them?

I hope to continue traveling and exploring. I want to visit the world, and I’m so thankful for my time in the U.S. because it’s such a good country to do business in. It’s connected to the whole world! Professionally, I’d like to earn a Master’s degree in Business Analytics, Project Management, or Marketing and pursue a career in one of those fields.

Through the internship experiences that St. Edward’s connected me with, I’ve learned how to identify which kinds of opportunities I like. I’ve also learned how to find balance for myself. I love learning, I love discovering, and I love talking to people. That’s what I get to do everyday on campus.

Sometimes it’s hard to balance being happy with studies, work, sports, cooking, and friends. That’s a lot of responsibilities, especially when you’re on your own. But now I’ve found balance. I love what I do and I’m super passionate about it. That’s what I love about St. Edward’s — it connects institutions and cultures, all over the world with good values. That is the first step to global success. 

By Samantha Mendoza