RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Dozens of students from the Bahamas were welcomed at Richmond International Airport on Monday night. They will continue their studies at Hampton University after Hurricane Dorian slammed the country weeks ago.
When they arrived, the students told 8News they were grateful of the opportunity and thankful to be alive and continue their education after the devastating hurricane. The students were in for a big surprise during their welcome to Virginia.
Students, faculty and staff at Hampton University, one of Virginia’s historically black colleges, greeted Bahamian students in true HBCU fashion.
“We wasn’t expecting the whole crowd to be out and the drums,” said Jullian Dean, one of the 46 students who came from the University of Bahamas. “It was really heartwarming and a good welcome.”
The Bahamas and its citizens are trying to recover after Hurricane Dorian gutted the country, leaving more than 50 people dead. Dean said their beloved university was badly damaged.
“Our campus in grand Bahama was basically ruined, it’s underwater,” he told 8News. “So, to have a college open up their facilities to us for a semester and basically take care of everything, just grateful, very grateful!”
Thanks to Hampton University and generous donors, the students will get free tuition, room and board for the semester.
“They’ve already been through so much devastation and loss that we felt if we brought a sense of normalcy back to their studies at least that could help,” said Hampton University’s Dr. Pamela Moolenaar-Wirsiy.
The Bahamian students are in the U.S. on expedited student visas and are not wasting any time hitting the books. The students have already got their classes picked out and schedules in line.