International Club president preps for International Dinner
With her cheery personality, passionate spirit and contagious laugh, international student Sara Toro is an energetic contribution to the GC community.
Living over 5,000 miles away from home, Toro is in her senior year at GC. Toro was born in Albania and first moved away from home when she was 15.
“I went to high school In Italy and lived there for four years,” Toro said. “So the move from Albania to the U.S. was not hard because I was used to being away from my family.”
After deciding to move to the U.S., Toro was excited to start something new.
“I was so shocked of how people were so nice here in the U.S.,” Toro said. “When I first came here, people were so interested in the fact I was from Albania, and I loved that.”
In her free time, Toro visits with other GC international students to make them feel welcome. She said she felt so accepted when she first came to GC, so she wants other international students to have the same experience she did.
Tanvi Lonkar, an international student from Mumbai, met Toro at their freshman year international student orientation.
“We became really good friends a year later, and now we are basically family,” Lonkar said. “We’ve been through everything together also because we are not only the same major, but we have a lot of other things in common.”
Toro is also the president of GC’s International Club and works as a diversity peer educator at GC.
“I want people to be accepting of other people, and I want people to be open-minded of those who are different,” she said.
Toro helps plan all the International Club’s events, but she has been working especially hard all year for the
upcoming International Dinner.
“It’s a lot of planning and a lot of work,” Toro said. “I am taking care of MC and the talent part of the show, but there is so much to it like decorations, fashion show and the food.”
Psychology professor and International Office Director Tsu-Ming Chiang has worked closely with Toro during her time at GC.
“Sara is a bright young lady,” Chiang said. “In my classes, she always expresses her thoughts and opinions when we talk about issues.”
Chiang said she can see the impact Toro has on other students in her classes.
“She has added a lot of valuable cultural observations to the classes that I teach, and I teach psychology courses, so global issues and cultural comparisons are often made,” Chiang said. “She was valuable in providing insights and thoughts, which stimulates lots of thoughts and ideas from when her peers ask questions.”
Toro is majoring in psychology and eventually wants to become a clinical psychologist.
“I am very passionate about mental health,” she said. “I have had several experiences in my life with people who have struggled. It was so hurtful for me to see how much they were judged for it and how little help they would get.”
According to Toro, the lack of care for mental health in Albania is shocking.
“Mental health in Albania is not where it should be,” Toro said. “It’s crazy about how different of services they would receive in the U.S. and how different their lives would be.”
After graduation, Toro plans on applying for an occupational practical training (OPT) to stay in the U.S. and attend graduate school. But for now, Toro said her favorite thing about GC is the college life.
“Here, there is a sense of campus community,” she said. “I love that there is always something to do, and if there is not, you can come up with something, and I think that is amazing.”