A Kiwi in Cleveland:
New Zealander attends Truett-McConnell

written by Lucy Beth Hedrick
photography by Lillian Cottingham

CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews)--Truett-McConnell College is known as a school that takes the gospel to the nations and opens its doors to students from around the world. Freshman Danae Cooney, from Hamilton, New Zealand, is one of numerous international students at the Cleveland, Ga., school.

Cooney attends Truett-McConnell thanks to a scholarship from Rotary International – an organization providing many international students with scholarships to study in colleges and universities in Georgia.

"When I applied in New Zealand, I sent my application to the Rotary headquarters in Savannah. There are many Rotary Clubs in Georgia that go to Savannah and choose which student they want to sponsor," Cooney explained. "Each club then selects the school that their sponsored student will go to. I was chosen by the Rotary Club in Cleveland, and that is why I am at Truett-McConnell."

Danae CooneyNew Zealander Danae Cooney says coming to TMC was a "God thing." The Kiwi enjoys the fellowship as a member of one of the numerous dorm-room Bible studies on the campus as seen in this photo and the one below.Students have the responsibility of attending local club meetings and giving a presentation to the members. "I spoke at each of my sponsoring Rotary Clubs when I first arrived and told about myself, my home country, what it's like there, and the different passions that I have," Cooney said. "When I leave, I will speak again about my experience and how it has changed my life."

Although Cooney was not able to choose which college she would attend, she was very pleased to find out about Truett-McConnell. Because she has been a Christian most of her life, she knew that coming to TMC was a "God thing, and that He wanted me to be here and grow in my relationship with Him. I'm surrounded by people who share the same morals and values as I do. The community here is great," she said.

Danae Cooney prayingCooney has formed many relationships in the community and on campus; she has made friendships in the classroom, dorms, at church, and in Bible studies. She is involved in the lives of many girls in her dorm and Bible studies and considers them to be life-long friends.

Despite the many precious friendships, Cooney's time in Georgia has not been without difficulty. Being far from family has been a challenge, as has adjusting to the responsibilities of college life and her scholarship requirements.

The experience has "made me realize that God is the only one that we can fully rely on. He's got it under control," she said. "Wherever he takes me in this world, he still needs to be the center of my world and I need to really make an effort in my relationship with him. The more you do that, the closer he draws to you."

Cooney will return to New Zealand this summer, where she has applied to attend a university, and will study social policy and public relations. She believes her year at Truett-McConnell was the year God wanted her to discover her career path.

"I think it's because of my faith that I've been able to make really good friends at Truett-McConnell and fit in really well," Cooney said. "TMC fits me perfectly."

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