Because of You...Rice is a Home Away from Home for International Students
Rice is an increasingly international university, where a quarter of undergraduates and graduates come from outside of the U.S. to pursue research and take advantage of Rice’s stellar learning environment.
But for students, it is not always easy to acclimate to a new community. Fortunately, passionate Rice volunteers like Mary Kay Dauria step forward every year to make sure these students’ new home is a second home.
Through International Friends at Rice, a program within the Office of International Students and Scholars, Mary Kay hosts international students at social events and on cultural outings, showing them what Houston has to offer and providing them a view of an American family’s traditions and culture.
“It is a blessing that Mary Kay gives her time to do this for me and for other international students.” — Simba Dzinamarira
“I care deeply about international students,” says Mary Kay, a retired senior VP of international services for AIG who has traveled to 60 countries, worked abroad and led a team of international employees in Houston. “I connected with Rice because this is an amazing institution. As a result, our family has gotten to know a wonderful group of students, and hopefully we have welcomed them into an American family.”
Mary Kay has hosted a number of students over the years, including computer science doctoral candidate Simbarashe “Simba” Dzinamarira (pictured above, right). Her warm welcome eased Simba, who is from Zimbabwe, into life in Houston. What began as a welcome, with trips to the theater and the Art Car Parade, has become a lasting bond. “Simba has remained a close family friend, and I think he’ll be a lifelong friend,” Mary Kay says.