As the final details are put into place on the new Carole Weinstein International Center, campus internationalization is moving ahead at full steam. Just ask Roux Dionissieva, '11, an international student from Sofia, Bulgaria and a veteran of the Office of International Education's programs.

"The best resource for me has always been the Office of International Education," says Dionissieva, who is serving as a student coordinator for the office's Ambassador Club for the third year. "They were always there and ready to answer my questions."

Dionissieva came to UR in 2007 seeking a business education, but also seeking change — she knew she wanted to get out of the comfort zone of Europe. "I knew Richmond was the perfect school for me. The great business school and smaller size won me over."

She remembers her arrival as a trying time. "I came to a completely new country without knowing anyone," she says. But she surprised herself with her resiliency. "Now I know that I can do pretty much anything on my own, even on the other side of the world, in a foreign country away from all my friends and family."

She says the secret to thriving as an international student is to "take the experience here as a whole new lifestyle ... accept it and enjoy it for what it is."

Dionissieva shares advice like this with fellow students through the bi-annual International Student Orientation and the Ambassador Club. The club matches incoming international students with current UR students (both international and domestic) and invites the pairs to monthly off-campus events, including hiking, ice-skating, and beach trips. This semester the club has 60 members.

Even beyond the club, Dionissieva fills the shoes of an ambassador, bringing her unique frame of reference to classroom discussions. "Being born and raised in another country and in a very different way, I naturally tend to think about most things differently," she says. "I hope I brought something to the table by sharing my experience and points of view with my classmates."

"I think the opportunity to meet so many different people is what makes UR special and desirable for so many people," she says.

Dionissieva also credits the University's emphasis on integrated academics with helping her pursue both of her passions — business and creative art. "I am majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing and a minor in studio art. For me, this is the perfect balance."

When she graduates next May, Dionissieva will pursue a marketing career. "I think Richmond prepared me for the real world with a great variety of classes that broadened my perspectives about life. I am not scared to go out and talk to people, because I know what they expect from me," she says. "I believe the business school deserves its rankings. ... The education I received here made all the difference and shaped my attitude about the future."

With the recent opening of the international center — not to mention the Queally Hall expansion to the business school, which will open next spring — Dionissieva still has a lot to look forward to during her senior year. "I think the new international building is a great asset ... It will add a lot to the UR culture," she says.