Marina Byquist, manager of the international student program for the Office of Student Life
Marina Byquist, manager of the international student program for the Office of Student Life

The office of student life has recently welcomed its newest member: Marina Byquist, the international student program manager. Byquist has filled the late Bente Morse’s role.

In her previous position, Byquist connected with international students before they arrived on campus. She aided in the acquiring of visas and travel arrangements, and she managed the acceptance process. Her new role focuses more on the international students at the College, though she continues to work in the admissions department until her replacement has been found.

Sitting in her new sun-lit office, Byquist shared how she came to work at Principia and how her role as the international admissions coordinator naturally evolved into the international student program manager position.

Byquist is a Principia alumna. After earning her bachelor’s, she taught English as a second language in Japan, Chile and her native New Jersey. After returning from her time abroad, Byquist began to search for a job that would allow her to express her love of international citizens, Christian Science and education.

When the post for the international admissions counselor was advertised four years ago, Byquist realized she found her dream job. She rejoined the Principia family as a member of the staff and joined Principia’s international family.

Although Morse’s passing came as a shock to many, Byquist thinks it is important that the community realize the qualities Morse expressed have not left with her.

There has not been an international student program manager for over a month, and Byquist feels that the older students have acknowledged the change. However, Byquist said she is continuing to work with the idea that God meets all of the older international students needs and there is never any lack. She has also been working with the idea of being receptive to what God and the students need from her.

Luckily for Byquist, her past experience as the international admissions counsellor means that she knows all of the international students well. “Marina is such a great person. For the few years I have known her, I learned how selfless she has been to us, she deserves [the] post,” sophomore Kevin Lubuya said. “Her predecessor was excellent, but Marina stepped up and filled the void. I wish her all the best.”

“I think that Marina was the perfect choice, because we all know her,” junior Jessica Santos said. “This is important because it gives the students the confidence to talk with someone they know, to talk to a friend. If we had someone different, it could maybe be a barrier to the students to go for help.”

Byquist’s new position is involved in easing the transition of international students into American college life, as well as dealing with the legal issues of allowing foreign students to live, study and work on campus. She also focuses on international student orientation, along with facilitating the academic and emotional adjustment of studying in the United States.

Byquist said her job also focuses on integrating the international and American cultures, as there is only one type of student here: the Principia student. Integrating the students is completed through a variety of ways, but the most well-known events are the Pan African Conference and the Whole World Conference.

Byquist said that she is ready to learn and grow with the Principia students, and that her door is always open for suggestions.

Image courtesy of Julia Suber