Gabor Dekany was wet, muddy and still trying to catch his breath after his run on the Ranger Challenge Course at the University of North Georgia's Pine Valley facility, but pleased he had been selected by his fellow cadet recruits to represent them in the competition.
Dekany, a cadet entering his fourth year at the National University of Public Service, was one of four international students who participated in UNG's Freshman Recruit Orientation Group training, commonly called FROG Week and held the week before the semester begins in fall and spring.
"It makes me proud. I came from a country so far away and I got selected," Dekany said. "I think I was all right; I got some mud in my eye and that slowed me down."
This fall semester, some 238 recruits went through six days of instruction and exercises that aimed to help them transition from civilian life to military student life. For all recruits, the week of training stresses the importance that UNG's Corps of Cadets places on leadership development, said retired Col. Tom Palmer, commandant of cadets at UNG and an alumnus who experienced FROG Week as a cadet himself.
"The entire week demonstrates to the incoming class that we strongly desire to develop them into highly educated leaders of character," Palmer said. "Importantly, the squad leader who will supervise the new student for the entire semester leads him or her through all six days of FROG Week, clearly establishing the chain of command from day one."
FROG Week also serves as a training exercise for current cadets. Like many corps events and activities, UNG cadets plan and execute FROG Week, with oversight from Commandant of Cadets staff and Department of Military Science instructors.
It's that kind of knowledge about training and cadet life that the visiting international cadets are eager to take back home.
"I want to experience all the aspects of the officer training here, like how life's going, how are things maintained, how is everything supported and how do the cadets behave and do their job here," Dekany said.
Cheng-Yuan Wang, a rising junior from the Republic of China Military Academy in Taiwan, said FROG Week differs from his school's recruit training.
"It is very exciting. It is more cooperation work and communicating with my FROG members to complete the mission and I think this is the best part," said Wang, who will spend a semester at UNG along with ROCMA classmate Ke-Han Lin through an exchange program between the two schools.
Dekany and fellow NUPS cadet Dorottya Schneider, also entering her fourth year, will spend five weeks at UNG through cadet exchange established when the two universities signed a partnership agreement this spring at UNG.
"It was really exciting and challenging mentally because of the language and because I'm in a foreign atmosphere and I don't know the people around me," Schneider said. "I'm so grateful to be here and I want to take as many advantages as I can."
FROG Week culminated a week ago with the traditional Crown Mountain Run and graduation, at which the new recruits ceased to be FROGs and became UNG cadets. At the start of fall semester last Monday, UNG's Corps of Cadets had some 785 members. UNG commissioned 109 cadets during the 2016-17 academic year.