International student events play significant role in welcoming exchange students

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October 3, 2017

Rachel Librach

rlibrach@uccs.edu

    Whether you plan to study abroad 2,000 miles away in another country or 200 miles away in another state, the opportunity to attend exchange or international events that connect you to your new school and community helps you adjust to the change.  

    I studied abroad last spring in Innsbruck, Austria. Not only was I submerged in a foreign language, but I had to adjust to living in a completely different culture and way of life.

    Events designed for international and exchange students helped me to transition to a new way of life in Austria, and UCCS can offer students the same type of experience.

    Once I began school in Austria, one of the main resources offered to exchange students was the Erasmus Student Network. The group, organized by native students, was designed to help exchange students become acquainted with their surroundings and peers.

    After only a few weeks in this completely new environment, ESN introduced me to a wide network of friends and colleagues as well as got me active in the community.

    UCCS has a similar program within the Global Engagement Office. Sean Milton, senior advisor for International Student Scholar Services, oversees events such as the International Education Week, which takes place Nov. 13 – 18.  

    “During the International Education Week, we work with the Saudi Students club, Asian Pacific Islander Student Union, African Student Association and more to try to offer our international students opportunities to meet others from similar backgrounds or get involved with campus events,” he says.

    Although the schedule is tentative at this time, some events from this International Education Week will include a Parade of Nations, where international students will share their countries’ colors in a parade from Copper House to the MOSAIC Escape Room and various multicultural tabling events.

    Other social events hosted by GEO that help international become acquainted with the local Colorado Springs area include a visit to the Garden of the Gods, a Wild West Welcome Party that’s hosted by International Students Inc., Manitou Springs Hike, Pumpkin Carving and a visit to the Air Force Academy.

    While there are numerous events created by the GEO, Milton did not want to be the only event resource for international students.

    “We don’t want international students to only attend our events. We believe that it is important for them to reach out to other organizations and clubs on campus to participate in campus-wide events and become integrated into the UCCS community,” he says.

    One of the key differences between UCCS and most colleges in Austria is the number of clubs offered on campus that are supported by the college. UCCS and many American schools have an abundance of clubs and organizations to help students get involved on campus.

    Many European colleges, however, have only a handful of clubs on campus to offer their students.

    That’s why ESN played such a huge role in getting international students involved, whereas at UCCS, the Global Engagement Office can focus on promoting other clubs and campus events to help international students feel more involved.

    While the Global Engagement Office hosts fun, social events, there are also iWorkshops that assist international students with finding jobs, obtaining visas and work permits, as well as learning how to bank and pay taxes.

    Some of these iWorkshop events include Social Security Numbers and Drivers Licenses, Health Care and Health Insurance in the US and Money and Banking in the US.

    For more information on the GEO’s services, visit uccs.edu/~international/.

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