International students transition well at Valencia


Aasha Wells

Molefi Donovan, is a new freshman student to Valencia this semester from the tropics of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

The method and act of transitioning is more than common in the world. People transition and move all over; from different homes, to different states and even to different countries.

Molefi Donovan is a new freshman student to Valencia this semester, and he is from the beautiful tropics of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Even though the Virgin Islands is still United States territory, living in the states versus the islands are two very contrasting scenarios.

Planning on transferring to UCF as a dentist major through Valencia’s Direct Connect program, this is Donovan’s first time ever attending an academic institution in the states. He had more than a lot to say about his transition and adjustment to the state-living life style, his new school experience, and his thoughts towards being a part of the program.

“To be honest, the most difficult transition for me has been having to understand and adjust to taking public transportation, because I am so used to things being so much more close-by,” Donovan said. “It was annoying and really stressful at first to figure it all out, but I am glad that I did, or else I would find myself stuck a lot,” he said with a smile.

The way the college system is orchestrated in St. Thomas differentiates a lot in comparison to the way it is in the states. The grading scale is dissimilar, the course curriculum is stricter, and do not provide off campus student housing as an option.

In addition, the Direct-Connect transfer choice is also unavailable to students as well. The only housing the island provides is the dorms for the island’s only university, University of the Virgin Islands.

“I feel very fortunate that I am able to do a system like Direct Connect because not only does it help financially, it also good preparation of what I will soon experience at UCF, Donovan said. “It is very helpful and important.“

With the grading scale not being identical to the one students use daily in the states, this has an immense effect on the way Molefi studies and prepares for his assignments and tests.

“Economically, St. Thomas is not as fortunate as the states are. So with that being said, we do not have all the help that Valencia offers. I find the writing center, math tutoring and the library very helpful when it comes to doing my work if I need help,” Donovan explained.

The writing center in Valencia’s very own Academic Success Center is where many students go if help is needed in regards to writing a paper and on how to improve it. These three places in particular on campus are extremely important and beneficial to those who also seek a lot of help in the lacking areas.

Due to the fact that Molefi openly confides in going to the library, it has become his very own “home away from home” as he jokingly called it. It has become one of his favorite places on campus, and plans on applying all skills in regards to study in everything he does academically.

With Molefi being miles away from his home, that has been his pure drive and motivation to make sure that he performs very well in his studies. His supportive family and friends try to do everything they can to be of assistance to him when needed, especially when the going gets tough.  

“Being away from my family and friends and having to start all over has been tough,” he said. “But it has introduced me to a new side of being independent and doing things on my own. It may be difficult now, but I know it will be worth it in the end.”