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International Student Profiles

The following are profiles of current students from around the world and their unique perspectives on their academic programs and experiences at Regent.

Brinda Patel | Carl Ness | Hadil Arusi | Viktor Espana | Arun Daniel | Elisa Sosa Diaz | Deborah Arnett | Igor Papish | Estelito Villarta


Brinda Patel




           School:  Undergraduate School of Education

           Home Country:  India



My name is Brinda Patel and I am from India. I have earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from Long Island University, New York. I am currently majoring in Elementary Education. This is my second year at Regent University. Coming as a newcomer to this country and getting welcomed by amazing people all around was really helpful. Little did I know God had planned a new journey for me! After graduating, I moved to Norfolk, Virginia. Growing up in Mumbai, a fast pace Indian city and then living in New York, I felt that Virginia was refreshing.

I applied to Regent because it has an excellent academic reputation in Virginia. Also, it has one of the best education programs in Virginia. I was really impressed with Regent’s marvelous Campus. Not only is the campus beautiful but also has a homely touch. The highlight of the university is the faculty and staff. I have never met such supportive and considerate professors. My experience at Regent thus far has been exceptional. The individual attention here is delightful and I thank God for making Regent a part of my life.


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Carl Ness


School: Graduate School of Divinity

Home Country: Norway


For me Regent University is a place where my dreams can grow, be nourished and inspired.
It always amazes me to see how God directs your paths when you put your life in his hands and just put your trust that he will guide the steps you take towards your God given future.
Before I came to Regent University I was active in ministry, so it was a little bit weird to step out of that to become a student again. But I remember the first day of orientation at my school that one of the professors asked the new students how many of them felt God’s leading and calling to be here.
Then she asked how many of us has stepped out of ministry to be a student again. Several hands went up in the air, including mine. Then she said the following that changed the perspective for the years I’m going to be here: «If God called you here, then this is your ministry for this season»

I realize that every time God calls us into something new, we must leave something behind. For me that was a country, family, friends and a ministry. But in the words of C.S. Lewis; «There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. »

Regent is a place to grow and to be educated by world class lectures in a world class environment that stretches you, tests you and refines you for the calling God has for your life, and the things that he wants to accomplish you through the life you have been given. I know that the years I invest here, will do the difference for what I am going to do in the future, and I am so glad that Regent University gives me the tools and understanding to be an effective minister in the kingdom of God.



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Hadil Arusi


School:  Graduate School of Law

Home Country: Syria


Hi! My name is Hadil Arusi, and I am from Syria. I came to the United States after finishing my law degree in Syria. I am currently working towards an LL.M in Human Rights at Regent University School of Law. I have had so many great opportunities at Regent University. I was on the student staff at the Center for Global Justice which was a wonderful experience. Being part of the Center gave me the opportunity to work with Advocates International team which was a new and challenging experience and I enjoyed every part of it. I got to travel to conferences and meet like-minded people. The whole experience opened my eyes to a lot of interesting issues and helped me gain a lot of knowledge, therefore, I highly encourage law students to get involved in the Center. I have to say, I feel truly blessed for being at Regent University and I love every moment I spent here. I have met great professors, mentors, and made wonderful friends. I am blessed to have such great people around me who have helped and continue to help me succeed and make the best of this great opportunity. War in Syria has displaced my family, and as a result we are now divided between the United States, Canada and Syria, as is the case for so many Syrian families. I believe that my experiences with the war in Syria and the rich curriculum at Regent University have prepared me to work in the humanitarian field as I try to make a positive change in this world. 



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Viktor Espana


School: Undergraduate School of Animation

Home Country: Philippines



My name is Viktor Espana, and I come from the Philippines. My family moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand when I was only 2 years old and we have been serving as missionaries there for sixteen years-my father is a pastor who works for CBN Thailand as a counselor and manager, and my mother is a volunteer nurse.I also have a younger sister who is currently a high school freshman, and living with us is my grandmother, a former Filipina actress. My family is mostly involved with charity works for orphanages and underprivileged kids; we raise money to provide them with food, shelter, educational materials, and entertainment.

I was privileged with the opportunity of studying in a private international school. Because I had friends from all around the world, I was exposed to the variety of cultures and beliefs they held. This helped me learn about different worldviews, and it also urged me to grow in my faith in Christ. My dad had told me about CBN’s private university, but I wasn’t very excited because it wasn’t my first choice and I wasn’t sure how well their animation department was doing. However,God definitely had plans for me to come here-in just these past six months, I experienced His many blessings through the people that have generously supported me directly and indirectly for my education, and it just made me believe more so than ever that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

After a 22-hour journey by plane, I finally arrived in America. This is my first time living in the United States, and to be honest, it was a bumpy ride. The culture was definitely a big change, but right when I set foot in Regent University, I was immediately embraced by the people. I’m currently living in the Regent Commons, and I can’t believe how comfortable it is to be living in these apartment-style dorms.We strives to work and live as a community, and the respect between professors and students are great.Classes are definitely challenging, but I know I’m learning a lot and it’s pushing me to become a stronger Christian. As an art student, I’m very pleased that Regent University offers many activities and opportunities for students to contribute using their talents and skills, and they encourage the youth to be creative and unique. I’ve made a lot of good friends here, hopefully even more as time passes. The overall atmosphere is warm and friendly, so it makes a great place to learn. God definitely has a place for everyone here, and through mentors he is shaping us into the Christian leaders the world needs today. This is only my first semester at Regent University, and being a third-culture kid, I am proud to be a representative of the international student body.

God bless-or as the Thai people would say-Phra Jao wae phon



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Arun Daniel


School:  Graduate School of Business & Leadership

Home Country:  India


As I was looking for schools around Virginia to study, Regent’s bold and powerful statement “Christian Leadership to Change the World” captured my attention. I’m an ardent reader of contemporary business news; and I have found the fall of successful organizations was due to lack of right values and vision.The prospect of being trained to be a Christian leader with biblical values sounded very exciting for me. With this thought in mind, I started writing my essays for all the three schools I applied for. Regent’s essay questions all ended with one point, “What is God calling you to do?" As I continued to write my essay for other schools I realized that the same questions were asked, but with no connection to God. I asked myself should I frame my essays according to what each particular school liked to hear, or to be true to what God was driving me to do.That helped me to decide that I need to attend Regent.

Now, almost at the end of our first semester I can confidently say that I got what I expected. Our professors teach business principles from a Christian worldview without compromising the integrity of either. The best part of education at Regent for me, a different experience from India, is being encouraged by professors to think critically and creatively. Methodically they guide us to present our ideas within the framework of professional business and biblical principles.

Moreover, the natural beauty of our campus is a huge blessing for a student. As I sit under the tree shade with the wind blowing gently on my face, I flip through the pages and am inspired to write innovative business ideas. I am able to do online research as I sit here due to Wi-Fi connectivity. The knowledge pool we have in our library is something worth mentioning here. For me, as an international student these amenities are priceless.

I’m blessed to work on campus as a student worker. Currently, I work at our library and I’m proud to say so. Each day we work towards providing the best knowledge support for our patrons and strive to deliver excellent customer service. I, also, serve the student body as a Senator for the School of Business & Leadership. I enjoy the support I receive from my department colleagues which helps me to deliver my duties effectively. Even though I’m an international (alienJ) student at Regent I find myself one among many God's children, blessed and chosen to be here to learn and to serve in HIS name.


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Elisa Sosa


School:  Undergraduate School of Animation

Home Country:  Guatemala



My name is Elisa Sosa, I am from Guatemala! I am currently studying Bachelor of Animation at Regent University. This has been an amazing blessing in my life! God opened this door and gave me the opportunity to study my passion at this school. I decided to leave my country, come to the United States to study and start this new season of my life with God. It has been a journey full of joy, hard work and amazing friendships! I have learned so many things, not only academically but also spiritually. Although homesickness comes every once in a while, and speaking in English gets tiring, I would not change my experience at Regent and all the amazing things I have gone through during my first year here. It has been a time of confronting fears, stepping out of comfort zones -- try new things, fail, and get back up! God will never stop to amaze me, for the idea of coming to Regent was only a dream, yet He made it possible and now I am living it! He has also given me the opportunity to meet some pretty awesome people on campus. I cannot describe how excited and happy I am to meet people with a heart surrendered to God and a passion to honor and glorify Him with their lives; people that I can now call friends. To God be the glory, He is good, very good. 


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Deborah Arnett


School:  Graduate School of Psychology and Counseling

Home Country:  Bahamas


My story of becoming a student at Regent University is not a “fluffy romantic” one. There are no extraordinary circumstances involved in the process. As a matter of fact, in 2006 when I first viewed Regent’s website, in response to the gentle encouragement of a family friend and former Regent Professor, I was unimpressed and quite frankly dismissive. Nevertheless, God kept gently palpating my heart through conversations about Regent University - which He orchestrated. At some point, I had to admit that often in my past I have not had the inclination to go where God wanted to lead me, but when I surrendered and submitted His desire became mine. This is a journey of obedience. It is a story of true Love patiently and faithfully pursuing my heart.

Presently (in 2013), I am a second year student in the Doctoral Program of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.). As a member of the 2nd year cohort I have been granted the opportunity to develop and refine my skills in a program with passionate, capable, competent, and committed faculty and staff. In this program I have been challenged and stretched spiritually and intellectually. I can say unreservedly that the professors deeply desire to provide the training and support needed to produce students of excellence. I must provide a quick disclaimer though; we are not “perfect." We are, however, evolving as a community into distinctively astute Practitioner-Scholars. Scholars that I hope will learn to embody the Image of Christ, while engaging the potent lifestyle of obedience to God as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego did.

I do not know where God may be gently leading you to pursue your education, but I want to encourage you to surrender your will and your future. There is no place comparable to that of being in God’s Divine will. While challenges will come, know that “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NASB). In addition, know with confidence if God directs you to study here at Regent, He has gone ahead of you to prepare the way and He will provide for all your needs. Finally, if He has called you here, know that here is not restricted to the school or to the campus, He has called you to this city to be a part of the community, purposefully engaged. Your Divine mission does not commence when you return to your home country, neither does it go on hiatus while you are here it is unfolding now. And I am confident that if you are faithful with investing in another man’s city, God will entrust you with territories of influence in your own - when He wills to. Walk with Him.

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Igor Papish

School:  Undergraduate Business & Leadership

Home Country:  Ukraine


Hey there,

My name is Ihor Papish as it obviously states above, however I go by “Igor” and I’m from Ternopil, Ukraine. I am currently a full-time student working towards my bachelor’s degree in Business at the Regent University. I love traveling, music, fine art, and work in both traditional and digital media. I used to study animation in SCAD-Atlanta for two years prior transferring here. I felt like I’ve picked up enough skill on art, and felt like I had a passion for business and was called to learn it in RU-Virginia Beach. The transition was very smooth, and both students and professor as well as all advisors made me feel welcomed and are really friendly, showing the love of God through them. In addition my older brother started his MBA here just a semester after me which makes the whole experience even better.

I chose Regent University because it doesn’t only give one excellent education and sophisticated knowledge but also a strong Christian foundation established on Holy Scriptures. The program prepares individuals to become great Christian leaders. I personally enjoy all my classes so far and feel like I’m getting more than an education degree here. The presence of the Lord is felt here and there are plenty of interesting Christian events happening that enhance Spiritual growth.

If you are interested to see some of my work go to:



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Estelito Villarta

School:  Graduate School Business & Leadership

Home Country: Philippines


My name is Estelito Valenzuela Villarta, from the Philippines. An international student taking up MBA major in Business and Leadership. I thank God for His faithfulness through Regent University. The Lord guided me as I have chosen a Christian institution. The only school I have known that offers full support for student success by offering different kinds of resources free of charge including coaching sessions from trained coaches, writing center, mentoring from successful alumnae, career services, counseling services, Regent CARES, a connection and access for technical support, information and resource support and encouragement & prayer support. And the things that I like the most, Regent is dedicated to provide a combining quality education in a biblical perspective.


"Education is life itself," said John Dewey. Advance learning is a fundamental to good productivity and provides many opportunities producing goods and services that glorifying God. It is my prayer that I may be used by the Lord someday to save the people from poverty, idleness and other form of ungodliness through the instrumentality of higher learnings I obtained from Regent University.


Coming from a third world country I cannot help but think like Esther. Through Christian education, I decided to go to school when I had seen the opportunity in this foreign land. It is such a blessing to have met the godly and beautiful-hearted Christian loving people of Regent University. While this is only my second semester, the competent Christian professors have been impacting my life. The different disciplines that are taught gives me a greater impulse to make a change someday in my own country. "Christian Leadership to Change the World" is the ripple effect because I am a changed life. I do not want to waste the bountiful academic resources I am offered now. Little by little I will take a gulp. The spontaneity of my dream to continually be educated in terms of Business and Leadership was seen when the Lord God provided all my needs and family needs. It is my deepest desire and prayer that God will use me to change the mindset of our people back home.



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