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From Brazil to SEU – Andre’s Story

A man is sitting in a chair working on a tablet. He is smiling and wearing a gray SEU shirt.

Did you know? SEU welcomes international students from dozens of countries and foreign territories around the world!

Andre didn’t search for SEU. SEU found him. 

Andre is an international student from Brazil, currently earning his Master of Business Administration in Sport Management. After receiving his undergraduate degree in Advertising from ESPM (Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing) in Brazil, Andre felt it was time to further his education and come to the United States. Through many game-changing moments on Andre’s educational journey, the culture of SEU and the Lakeland area was soon his new home — as well as the setting for the next chapter of his education. 

Before Andre decided to come to SEU as an international student, he started as a graduate assistant and soccer coach in West Virginia. During his time there, he received word that he had been given the opportunity to work for Lakeland United Football Club. After three months with the club, Andre flew back home to Brazil — but home had a different feeling this time. The club owner of the LUFC was an alumnus of SEU and told Andre all about it — including the wide variety of degree programs and Christ-centered culture. The soccer club owner eventually convinced him to move to Lakeland to work with the Lakeland United Football Club program. After some research, Andre also decided to apply to SEU.

Andre said, “I remember that the application process was very smooth and easy, which encouraged me even before this new adventure in my educational journey started.” At first, he was unsure whether SEU was the right next step, but after visiting, Andre recalled having a very comfortable feeling while touring the campus and meeting students and faculty. 

There’s Creativity in Community 

As an international student and a commuting graduate student, Andre wondered whether he would feel like part of the SEU community. But, as he worked his campus job in the cafeteria at SEU, he said after serving students multiple meals in a day, there was something that caught his attention about the community. The students prayed together right outside Kelly Gardens and a group of students were playing fun outdoor games together in teams. The camaraderie and spiritual support for one another helped Andre realize the true value of community SEU encourages. 

During his classes, Andre not only learned from his professors but also made friends with his classmates — many of whom he is still friends with today. He found community through student programming opportunities and his job as a graduate assistant with SEU Creative, our in-house branding and marketing team. Andre is often involved in marketing for campus events, web optimization, faculty highlights, and more. Additionally, Andre has been exploring and discovering all Lakeland has to offer.

The Impact of an Open Mind 

Having a mind open to learning new skills, taking on new environments, and growing personal perspectives has been a constant theme in Andre’s life. Simply saying yes to the many opportunities SEU has to offer is vital to getting involved. Andre also took an International Culture class at SEU and connected with the professor’s stories about the different locations and cultures he had experienced. The course made him feel more understood. Spiritually, Andre has been exploring various churches around the Lakeland area with his friends from SEU Creative, who have become like family.  This has allowed him to learn more about himself and feel encouraged to discover his Divine Design

Don’t Be Afraid of New Beginnings 

Deciding to apply, register for classes, and get involved in student programming and the Lakeland community was the start of Andre’s new beginning. Creating with SEU is something that Andre takes pride in.  When asked what advice he would give to new and international students, Andre offered these three tips:  

  • Be tough. Being away from home, and the process of starting a new chapter in life, is hard. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it! Don’t minimize how you feel, but express it and understand that it’s not only important to have grace for others, but for yourself on this new journey. 
  • Don’t get comfortable. It’s natural to feel uncomfortable as an international student, or just as a new student. It’s also easy to hide and shy away from getting involved on campus and in the local community because you might feel like an outsider looking in. Getting involved sometimes requires a willingness to be temporarily uncomfortable, but it’s a risk worth taking.
  • Have a plan. As an international student, it can be hard to plan after your education is finished, and as a new student, it can be challenging to know what major to pick or what life after college will look like. However, brainstorming and writing down some practical steps for the future and life post-college can always be good in the long run. Plus, SEU offers multiple support services to help you get there!

Enjoy the Whole Process

Andre has shown that change is possible through having an open mind and taking the college journey one step at a time. We’re grateful to have Andre and our many international students as part of the Fire Family!


By David Jarrett, Student Writer

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