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Spartans of UD - Lukas Sandanger and Adriana Benavente

By University Relations Staff

Spartans of UD highlights what makes the University of Dubuque special - the people.

In celebration of International Education Week, Spartans of UD is featuring two of the incredible international students who made the University of Dubuque their home away from home.

Lukas Sandanger, of Larsnes, Norway, is a sophomore sport marketing and management major and member of the men's soccer team. Adriana Benavente, of Arequipa, Peru, is a first-year digital art and design major and a member of the women's tennis team.

What spurred your interest in studying at the University of Dubuque?

Lukas: "The main reason I came to the U.S. or UD was to combine soccer with education. As soon as I talked to former coach Brad Johnson and got to see the facilities we have here, there was no doubt what I was choosing."

Adriana: "The pretty campus, tennis team, and the digital art and design major program motivated me to choose UD."

This year's theme for International Education Week is "International Education is the Future." How do you feel international education - and your experience at UD - will impact your future?

Lukas: "International education will affect me in the way that I get so much to experience and get to see the world; I get to see a completely different country than Norway and travel outside Europe as well. UD also has a lot of different nationalities, so you get to know people from all around the world."

Adriana: "I think engaging with people of other nationalities and seeing their world views helps me to have an open-minded vision of how the world looks from different perspectives. This can make me understand international problems that can be useful for the future."

If you could offer one piece of advice to future international students, what would it be?

Lukas: "One piece of advice for future international students is that it's going to be tough at the start; it was that for me at least. New language (not Norwegian), new country, you don't know anyone, and you miss your family. But as long as you embrace that challenge with open arms and really give it a try, I promise you will never regret it."

Adriana: "My advice to future international students is to not be afraid of difference. There is always many cultural differences that at the start can be awkward to confront, but it is just a matter of time to get used to it."

What is one aspect of your culture you hope to share with people on campus? What was one aspect of American culture that you were excited to experience?

Lukas: "I hope to teach everyone and my friends here more about what is normal to do or not in Norway. I have already brought over some Norwegian food that my friends tried, and I'm teaching them Norwegian - they are getting pretty good at it. I was very excited to see how nice people are. They just welcome you to their home and they drive you everywhere, no matter if it's Walmart five minutes away or O'Hare International Airport in Chicago three hours away. They are just amazing."

Adriana: "I would like to share the sense of never giving up and putting all your effort into everything. And something that I learned from American culture is how open-minded they are when it comes to meeting new people."

In your opinion, what makes the University of Dubuque unique?

Lukas: "What makes UD unique is that the school is small and you know everyone. Okay maybe not everyone, but close. Since it's small you get to know people faster and get to know them very well, and I have formed some friendships here that I will bring with me for the rest of my life."

Adriana: "What makes UD unique is how professors care about the alumni. They are always there when you need help, and I am very thankful for that aspect."