Rutgers Global Celebrates Graduating International and Study Abroad Students

Four Rutgers students at Global Graduation Celebration, raising a toast
Tuesday, May 7th

On April 29, Rutgers Global hosted a graduation celebration for all graduating international students and students who participated in a study abroad program during their time at Rutgers. The event drew a crowd of more than 200 and was held in Trayes Hall on the Cook Douglass campus. 

Students arrived and visited with each other while enjoying a buffet of internationally themed appetizers. Next was a toast announced by Maya Sarno, Associate Director for Student Support, who asked everyone to raise their glasses of sparkling cider and celebrate the graduates. Vice President for Global Affairs Eric Garfunkel then delivered remarks, noting: “You’ve likely learned a lot over the past few years at Rutgers, and not just in the classroom. You’ve learned about yourselves—and about living in a new country and culture. And whether you’re an international student or a student studying abroad, you’ve undoubtedly influenced your peers by bringing them new ideas, teaching them new customs, speaking with them in different languages. Collaboration refreshes and reinvigorates ideas.”

Naira Soltany
Naira Soltany

Two students then shared about their experiences at Rutgers. First was Naira Soltany, who graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and took part in the Lifestyles of the Mediterranean study abroad program in Greece. Originally from Egypt, Naira found that studying abroad helped cultivate her love of travel and experiencing different cultures. She even decided to work in the Rutgers Global-Study Abroad office to help other students discover the joys of global education. 

Then Kush Chheda, an international student from Kenya who has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and now graduates with a master’s degree in Analytics and Data Science, spoke about his time at the university and his experiences serving as an Orientation Leader for International Student Orientation.

Kush Chheda
Kush Chheda

He shared: “When I first arrived on campus in 2017, the vibrant tapestry of cultures and backgrounds that call Rutgers home made me feel welcomed and embraced from day one. Throughout my journey, Rutgers Global has been a steadfast source of support and inspiration. Whether through their events, initiatives, or the unwavering dedication of their staff, I always felt empowered to thrive and grow as a global citizen. Moreover, my journey with Rutgers Global didn't end with receiving support—it evolved into a journey of giving back. As an international student orientation leader for the past two years, I had the privilege of paying it forward by helping new students acclimate to campus life and fostering a sense of community among them.

As I stand on the precipice of this new chapter in my life, I am reminded of the profound impact that Rutgers Global has had on my personal and academic growth. It is a testament to the transformative power of global education and the boundless opportunities that await us beyond these walls.”

The names of the graduates were then read by Rutgers Global staff, and each came to the stage to collect a special lapel pin from Rutgers Global. Congratulations to our graduates! See photos from the event here.