Rozita Smith, new interim director of International Student and Scholar Services, knows what being a student in a foreign country is like. Originally from Malaysia, she attended Emporia State in 2007, and in 2010, graduated with a master’s degree in mental health counseling.
As a graduate student, Smith worked in the Office of International Education. Teresa Yount, administrative assistant, worked with Smith both then and now and said Smith is dedicated.
“She has a heart for international students because she was one,” Yount said. “We’re glad to have her back.”
Smith said she chose to work at ESU because she has a good history here and lots of friends. She said that she started a new life in the United States, and it feels like home.
Before coming to America, Smith had worked at a psychiatric hospital in Malaysia, but she wanted to know more and further her education.
Smith said that compared to Malaysia, which has a dry season and a wet season, Kansas is very different.
“It was really nice to be able to finally touch and play around (in) the snow. . .but I’m still adjusting with the really cold weather,” she said.
Smith’s responsibilities include orientation for new international students, helping them get settled in, assisting with immigration and visas and working with advisers to make sure students get the best education available. She is also a liaison between departments on campus and an advocate for student needs.
Smith said her new job has been “so far, so good.”
“I know there still lots more in front of me that I have to learn, and I have got to be quick,” she said. “I know that it’s challenging, but like in the past with the help of a lot of people and my willingness to learn, I’m sure that I can get something done.”
Gonzalo Bruce, assistant vice president of international education, said that Smith’s education enables her to work effectively across campus, promoting support services and leadership development among recognized international student organizations.
“I hope I can help this school, this office, and especially helping the students the way I received help while I was a student,” Smith said.