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Photograph by Jamie Betts

It was midnight on her first day back on campus in August, and Myrsini Manou Georgila, ’20, was at the campus police station.

“People think it’s torture, but I love it so much,” she said. As one of two head international orientation advisors, Manou Georgila was waiting for late arrivals to international orientation. For legal reasons, UR police must physically hand new students their student IDs, but Manou Georgila wanted to ensure all new international students were welcomed.

“They step off that shuttle [from Richmond International Airport] and are so confused, but they see us with the pizza, music, and bedding, and you see their whole face light up,” Manou Georgila said. “I feel like there is nothing more rewarding than that.”

Three years ago, Manou Georgila arrived on campus for her own international orientation as a first-year student from Thessaloniki, Greece, and she did not like it. In fact, she can barely tell you what her IOA, or international orientation adviser, looked like.

Still, the international student community is the campus community she identifies with the most, so it was fitting that she applied to be an IOA for her sophomore year. Two head advisers and 16 advisers are the face of international orientation for about 150 students each year.

“I wasn’t sure where this was going to take me, but I was really excited to get involved with the international community [in] a mentorship role,” Manou Georgila said. “Knowing that I have been [in] their shoes and that I have been through a similar transition, I felt like I could contribute a lot to the program.”

That year, Manou Georgila said, she “spammed” her group with messages, encouraging them to get involved and giving them tips and tricks for living in Richmond.

“If I could make the experience slightly better for those 10 people that I had, then let it be,” she said. “Ten people is something.”

At the start of her junior year, Manou Georgila became head IOA, a role she repeated again her senior year. She’s also been making an impact on campus in other ways. The liberal arts curriculum gave her the opportunity to to start taking Arabic, which then pushed her to join the Arabic Club, to create the UR Hellenic Society, and to get involved with International Club. She’s also in her second year as her class’s Westhampton College Government Association senator.

“It was a really great opportunity to reflect on my role in the university community and what I can give back. I felt that I had a better understanding of the international community’s needs and interests. In order to solve issues, you have to be aware of issues, and in order to be aware of issues, you have to stay in touch.”

But Manou Georgila has less than a semester left as a student. With graduation looming in May, she’s aware that every day produces another “last” at Richmond.

“Time is running out,” Manou Georgila said. “I still have things that I want to do before I leave. I want to do whatever I can do to get involved. So, what’s next for me? It’s staying involved.”