Officials launch program to help international students adjust to campus

A new University program aims to introduce international students to American culture and life at GW.

The Center for Student Engagement announced a new program called International Connections earlier this month. The project, which will launch in the fall, will host a series of discussions and activities designed to build connections between international and domestic students.

The program, directed to both undergraduate and graduate students, will run for six weeks. It will be split into two parts: International Conversations, discussions between 12 student leaders and international students about topics like student organizations and dealing with roommates, and International Outings, a series of trips around the District to introduce international students to the city.

University spokesman Tim Pierce said the Community Support and Leadership Team in the CSE created the program after listening to feedback and analyzing data from international students, who he said wanted to have more opportunities to mingle with domestic students.

“The initiative focuses on the integration and intentional community building between domestic and international students,” he said in an email. “At times, programs for international students focus only on overall cultural transition and do not address as much about institutional culture and transition.”

The team also worked with staff in the International Services Office and examined research and data from other universities in crafting the program, he said.

“The goal of the program is to help international students build community and adjust to life at GW, in D.C. and in America and to provide greater opportunities for international and domestic students to have a shared experience,” Pierce said. “It allows international and domestic students to interact more than they otherwise would in a classroom setting.”

While International Connections is geared toward incoming students, the program is open to all international students who register to participate, Pierce said. He added that the programming for the venture will be free, but trips for around D.C. may include a “discounted price” to an event or museum.

The 12 guides for the program include both international and domestic students at the University, who had to apply for the position.

The University has explored expanding of international student resources in the past as part of its goal to double its international student population by 2022. Last fall, officials implemented a new video campaign to attract international students to the University.

Officials already hold a special Colonial Inauguration session specifically for international students in August, a few days before the start of classes.

Student Association President Peak Sen Chua, an international student from Malaysia, ran his executive vice presidential campaign this spring with a spotlight on increased international student services. Chua said he aims to create a directory of international students from different countries to help incoming students find peers from their home countries.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.