First-year Murray State University student Jiwon Yoon recently moved to Kentucky from South Korea. She is adjusting to the American lifestyle after arriving in mid-August.

“It’s perfect,” Yoon smiled. “It’s such a good place and the people are nice.”

Yoon is an International Student who participates in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program. It is largely made up of students from both South Korea, like Yoon, and also Japan.

“I think it’s good because we can all share different cultures,” Yoon stated.

The goal is to emphasize English proficiency in all skill and knowledge areas which include speaking, listening, writing, reading, and grammar while providing an overview of American culture.

“It’s our job to welcome people to the community—whether they’re from across the region, across different state lines, or international students who travel abroad and cross over the seas to join us here in Murray,” Independence Bank President Heidi Shultz said. “It’s a special community. We like to be very welcoming.”

Treasury Management Officer Ashley Heath joined Shultz in a first floor classroom within the Blackburn Science Building to greet the students and help guide them to banking related resources.

“There was one student who got up and became the leader and started helping us get other students set up with digital banking,” Heath recalled. “Definitely a very good group of students.”

At least two dozen ESL students were assisted with an array of financial needs including opening checking and savings accounts. New contactless debit cards were also activated and administered to the young adults.

Heath, who credits Customer Service Representative Kelly Long with helping set up accounts, can see the Racer community from her Patriot Square location office window. It is prime because MSU students can walk there directly from campus without having to cross a highway or road.

“It will be very convenient for me to go there and ask for help,” Yoon expressed.

This is the first year Independence Bank has been given the opportunity to work with the ESL program. Shultz says she and her team look forward to providing a resource these students can rely on.

“They know we’ll be here if they call us,” Shultz added.

The advanced array of banking services isn’t the only way of buttering up these students. Several of them enjoy stopping in to scoop up a bag on the popular attraction of popcorn Fridays, too!