Incoming students prepare for the academic year with International Student Orientation

By Kate O’Neill 

Global Leaders providing a tour of campus to incoming students
Incoming students connect with campus resources during orientation

In September, 711 international students participated in an orientation before the start of fall quarter to help them prepare for their collegiate careers at UC Santa Cruz. To enhance and ease the students’ transition to Santa Cruz, Global Programming and International Student & Scholar Services held International Student Orientation for all incoming students.

“We enjoyed meeting our incoming international students at International Student Orientation and we are thankful for all they bring to UC Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz community,” said Lisa Swaim, director of Global Programs. “Alongside our domestic students, international students help to make UC Santa Cruz a culturally rich and vibrant community.”

International Student Orientation is designed to help students acclimate to Santa Cruz, get to know each other, and begin to understand some important ways that academic and societal assumptions and norms vary by culture. The program provides an opportunity for students to engage with the campus community and learn firsthand what life is like as a student in the U.S.

During the week of Sept. 16, campus bustled with first-year international students as they arrived early to Santa Cruz for a four-day International Frosh Orientation. Throughout the week, students participated in a variety of academic, campus and community-based activities that allowed them to connect with their fellow international Banana Slugs and to begin building friendships. A highlight of the program included a fair where students connected with vital resources, including colleges and advisors, and community services such as banking.

Student leaders played an integral role in running a successful first-year orientation. As international students, study abroad students, and first-generation students themselves, the orientation leaders were able to connect with incoming students and provide the information needed to thrive on campus. In addition to providing benefits to the incoming students, global leaders highlighted the positive impact that working orientation presented to them.

“Participating in the international student orientation as a global leader allowed me to practice encouraging students from different backgrounds to be open to each other and understand their differences! I absolutely loved working as a global leader,” said global leader Jackie Park.

Parents of incoming first-year students attended the Parent Program on Sept. 17. During this program, parents learned about the academic and college system, campus student support and business services, and the role of International Student & Scholar Services. The program is designed to provide parents with the information needed to support their incoming Banana Slugs during their first year.

In addition to the frosh orientation, a one-day international exchange and transfer student orientation took place on Sept. 20 and an international graduate student orientation was held on September 25 in collaboration with the Division of Graduate Studies.

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