The UMKC International Ambassador program consists of selectively chosen international and domestic students to serve as official university diplomats. International Ambassadors are available to act as hosts/hostesses at a variety of university events, as guides to university visitors and prospective students, and as the primary contact for admitted students regarding questions about UMKC, Kansas City or the United States. They also serve as an aid to new international students in the transition process from their home country to the United States and UMKC.


Aurelien Boccard | Switzerland

IMG_5705_1Doctor of Musical Arts (Performance – Piano)
Aurelien Boccard grew up in Geneva, Switzerland. He pursued degrees in German, Music Education, and Musicology at the Geneva Conservatory and the University of Geneva as well as a degree in Piano Performance at the Bern Conservatory. Prior to studying at UMKC, Aurelien acquired his Master of Music and Advanced Certificate in Piano Performance at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. He is currently obtaining his D.M.A. in Piano Performance at UMKC. When Aurelien is not working for school or ISAO, he enjoys swimming, traveling, going out in Westport and going to the movies.

“Having been a D.M.A. student at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at UMKC for almost three years now, I realize that my program is exactly what I was looking for. It challenges me academically and artistically. The school is among the best in the area and was the perfect choice for me. The teachers are dedicated and care about their students. Located near the center of the city, UMKC is close to all entertainment that Kansas City has to offer.”

Gharib Gharibi | Saudi Arabia

IMG_5696_2Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Computer Science and Telecommunications and Marketing
“After graduating from Jazan University in Saudi Arabia, I was looking for a university that offers the best computer science programs in the U.S.A. UMKC caught my attention for many reasons, including the strong academic programs, the outstanding faculty members, and the wonderful urban environment. After applying to UMKC, I received an offer to join a research team at the School of Computing and Engineering, which encouraged me even more to join it. Moreover, UMKC provides great opportunities for scholarships. I was awarded the Dean’s International Scholarship Award (DISA). And now I am continuing on to get my Ph.D. at UMKC. I feel that selecting UMKC was one of the best decisions I made in my life.”

Davit Kuljanishvili | Georgia

DavitBachelor of Arts in Political Science
“I grew up in the country of Georgia, in a town called Akhaltsikhe. Since my early years, my goal has always been to study hard and to be a very successful person. The first step that I made for my future was to be accepted to the Georgian High School Exchange program in the United States, where I got to spend one academic school year in Springfield, Missouri. I graduated from the Kickapoo High School and got an American high school diploma. Besides studying and living with an American host family, I’ve been volunteering a lot and even received the American Presidential Award for doing more than a hundred hours of community service. Currently, I am studying political science, and my goal is to become an ambassador of Georgia and to represent my country around the world. I am fluent in English, Georgian and Russian languages. I love meeting new people, traveling, playing soccer, watching movies and just having a fun time.”

Doreen Mbugua | Kenya

DoreenBachelor of Science in Computer Science
“I chose to study at UMKC because of its impressive reputation in strong academic courses, especially in engineering, the field that interested me most. UMKC has been ranked nationally as one of the top universities that offers Best Value Education to its students. The lecturers are friendly, helpful and have a keen mindset to help their students achieve only the best. Its location is the perfect atmosphere for learning and the facilities offered ensure we succeed in academic activities as well as extracurricular activities. Being here has given me the opportunity to grow academically, as well as develop necessary life and leadership qualities. With the diversity offered here, I am privileged and more importantly blessed to have the opportunity to be part o something great!”

Hieu Phung | Vietnam

Bachelor of Business Administration/Marketing
For a boy who has been living in Vietnam for 18 years, studying abroad is one life-altering decision for me. I grew up in a working-class neighborhood so definitely leaving my hometown to somewhere far away for college was not something that I thought of. After thorough considerations and online research, UMKC stood out among other U.S. institutions because of the well-qualified programs, low tuition cost, and great financial aid for non-residents and international students. When I went to my first class here at UMKC, I was amazed by the diversity of student body on campus, as you can see people from all over the world, all gathered at UMKC to pursue one common goal: higher education. Looking back from when I first started, I definitely believe UMKC has given me many opportunities to explore my strengths and know how to utilize them in my future career. With that being said, I am proud to call UMKC my second home – a home away from home.

Munsur Rahman | Bangladesh

MunsurPh.D. in Mechanical Engineering
Munsur Rahman grew up in Joypuhat, Bangladesh. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). Prior to studying at UMKC, he worked as a maintenance engineer for two years with a famous textile company in Bangladesh. Munsur acquired his M.S. degree in mechanical engineering at UMKC. Currently, he is pursuing his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering, with an emphasis in biomechanics at UMKC.

“My main motivation to study at UMKC stems from the excellent mechanical engineering degree program. I found the best course structures here, and numerous outstanding faculty members with research interests aligned with my own. I was also looking for an accelerated degree program, and UMKC provides this opportunity.  I personally don’t like crowded places where people are always busy. Here the population is less and still, this place is fun to live. I always preferred smaller cities over bigger cities and KC strikes a good balance with peace of mind and work pressure.”

Sharon Rodriguez Benarroch | Andorra

 Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations (emphasis in Higher Education)

Sharon was born and raised in Andorra which is a very small country between France and Spain in Europe. She decided to study in France during High School and has been away since then. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Angers in Foreign Languages and International Business; and also from Missouri Western State University in Business Management and Marketing where she first came as an exchange student.

“I came to the United States in 2012 for what it was supposed to be a one year exchange program, but I have been here in Missouri ever since! Being in the middle of the country has its advantages, especially if you want to travel to other states while you are on break. What I enjoy the most about UMKC are all the great opportunities, from classroom discussions, to extracurricular activities, I honestly really enjoy being part of multiple departments on-campus. I started my program with a very specific idea of what I wanted to do, and thanks to other students, professors and staff members at UMKC I have been able to explore other options and realize how much I enjoy studying in the United States and helping other students navigate this educational system as well.”

Navya Sane | India

Masters in Electrical Engineering with a double majors in Telecommunications and Networking as well as RF/Electromagnetics and Mixed Signal Systems.

“I am from the Land of Mystery, Mysticism, Mythology, Miracles, Multiculturalism, and Mightiness – India.” Navya was born and brought up in Hyderabad, India. Belonging to one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, Navya has always enjoyed learning and exploring different cultures and traditions. She pursued a Bachelors in Electronics and Communication from Lovely Professional University, India.

Professional Engineer and a Passionate Dancer, Navya loves to travel and says she chose UMKC because of its tagline, ‘ The place for people Going Places’.

Within a year of coming to the United States and UMKC, I managed to establish myself as a Leader. (I am also the Student Body President of UMKC).

My motto is to “Treat Others the way you want to be treated” and thus, here I am as an Ambassador to help the International Students understand, adapt and adopt the American Culture. I am glad that I have chosen UMKC, as it continues to challenge me professionally while providing a lot of leadership opportunities. I love meeting new people and look forward to having a great time as an Ambassador.