Faces on Campus: Meet Divya at UDayton Global

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By Sakina Taher
Last updated on March 14, 2024

Divya Blakemore discusses diversity, academic excellence, and global experiences at the University of Dayton in Ohio.

University of Dayton

Divya Blakemore joined Shorelight in 2021 as a student service advisor at UDayton Global, then was promoted to UDayton Global student success manager, and now serves as a manager for Shorelight Partner Operations. In her first role as a student service advisor, she made sure international students had a smooth and enjoyable academic journey in the US. A former international student herself, Divya draws on both her personal and professional experiences to empathize with and support international students’ transition to life in a new country.

Read on to learn more about Divya’s journey at UDayton Global and how the University of Dayton in Ohio is a great place for international students hoping to study in the US.

Divya’s Journey to UDayton Global 

Divya came to the US 12 years ago to pursue her master’s degree in English literature. Her sister, who was already living in the US, served as an introductory guide to US culture, going over the details on life in the States like banking, housing, and more.

Banking in the US was a particular challenge for Divya: even though she was a master’s student, she had never opened a bank account on her own before. Her sister recommended speaking to the bank tellers to figure out her best option. 

“So, I talked to them and tried to understand how to open an account, what kind of account options are [there]. I didn’t even know what kind of questions to ask, and at that time I really wished I had some friends here with me,” she said. Even though her sister was a big help, Divya still had gaps [in] “learn[ing] where I need to go and what resources are available.” 

“When I came to [the University of Dayton] and I saw the structure that Shorelight and the UDayton Global team have on campus, my first thought was ‘I wish I had this kind of support when I was going to school,’” she said. “I wish I [hadn’t needed] to figure everything out on my own.” 

She’s proud of how the UDayton Global student service team provides a welcoming and supportive atmosphere. Here, international students can feel comfortable sharing their concerns, asking questions, and seeking assistance for anything related to their well-being. 

Students come to me and say ‘Hey, how do we get from our housing to campus? What kind of transportation is available? What kind of bank do you recommend?’ and now I have this knowledge and I’m so happy to share it with them!” – Divya Blakemore, manager, Shorelight Partner Operations and former student success manager, UDayton Global at the University of Dayton

“There is just so much that international students can learn, become a part of, and can share once they arrive on campus, and that’s the biggest difference from when I was an international student,” she added.

Student Life at the University of Dayton in Ohio

Ranked #127 among National Universities by U.S. News & World Report, the University of Dayton is a top-tier research university in the state of Ohio, dedicated to academic excellence, entrepreneurship, and creating a positive global impact. 

“The campus offers a wide range of learning facilities and networking space for students to build their interpersonal skills, make friends, and learn about US culture,” Divya said.

Through UDayton Global, international students can also get clarity about meal plans, how to make payments, recommended ways to adjust to their new environment, and on- and off-campus housing. 

“We manage housing [for UDayton Global international students], which is very big for us,” said Divya. This covers assistance with housing arrangements and providing students with a safe space to call home after they land in Dayton. 

The UDayton Global team strives to have an open-door policy in the office. If a student has any academic or non-academic questions, from joining campus clubs to participating in events, visiting the campus health center and coping with culture shock, the student service team is always ready to help them out.

Advice for International Students 

Divya advises University of Dayton international students to make the most of their time in the state of Ohio: there are so many opportunities to make friends from around the world and develop skills such as communication, leadership, and networking. 

“Dayton is a microcosm of the world — there are students from India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Venezuela, and [more]. It is a truly diverse environment,” she said. “I really feel when students come here they don’t just learn what they learn in their classes, but they become a global citizen when they are learning in such a diverse community. I think that contributes to their personal growth with a true community experience they receive here.”

Divya is confident about the student success team’s support services — they truly help international students get a strong start. 

“Our team works very diligently to support the students; we want to be there as an extended family,” she said. She encourages students to openly communicate their concerns and discuss the challenges they may be facing in order to overcome them and move forward toward a successful academic experience. 

“We want [international students] to know that when they come here they are not alone,” she said. “They have our team here to help them and support [them].”

Once an international student herself, Divya advises students to be true to their culture and use it as a strength to learn more about themselves and other cultures. 

“We want students to bring with them their culture, their understanding, and we want them to have the opportunity to learn and enjoy American culture,” she said. “Learn, share, and live the best of both worlds!”

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