Tuesday, February 18

Workshops offered to international students in September orientations

Fall orientation sessions will offer workshops to incoming international students to assist them in their transition to UCLA. (Justin Ma/Daily Bruin)

Incoming international students will now have access to orientation workshops to assist them in their transition to UCLA.

The Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars and the International Student Leadership Coalition have collaborated to provide three workshop sessions for international students during summer New Student Orientations.

The workshops will be available during September orientation sessions because those are the sessions attended by the majority of international students.

The Dashew Center is a central hub for programs and support for international students at UCLA. The ISLC is a coalition of representatives from various international student organizations on campus.

The workshop will help international students transition into new college students by introducing them to programs and services available at the Dashew Center, said Jennie Weingarten, assistant director of programs at the Dashew Center.

Kayla He, undergraduate student government representative two, said the workshop will also focus on enhancing the college experience by helping international students come to campus with confidence.

“The content of the workshop is also about encouraging incoming international students to bravely explore the campus and to actively engage with the UCLA community, such as joining more clubs and pursuing their passions,” she said. “A student representative will be there to share his personal experience of stepping outside his comfort zone,” she said.

The sessions will be led by ISLC President Ashraf Beshay and a Dashew Center staff member Jacqueline Wagner.

The first part of the workshop will be conducted by a Dashew Center representative, and include a talk from Beshay on his personal experience as an international student studying at UCLA. It will then be followed by a Q&A session with students to address questions or concerns that they may have.

Beshay said he will be speaking with international students to get input on what he can offer to supplement their orientation experiences.

“The workshop does not have a rigid structure, because we want it to become a personal experience for them,” Beshay said. “We want to focus on providing students with tips and advice on how to explore the various entities on campus and get involved.”

The New Student Orientation office added the workshop to its itinerary because it felt international students had different needs than domestic students, Weingarten said.

She added the workshop was added to the orientation program after international students had previously advocated for it.

The ISLC focused on providing a workshop that would reach out to international students as soon as they arrive on campus, Beshay said.

“One of the agendas of ISLC was to primarily focus on how to get freshmen involved on campus and ease their transition to college, and (He) thought about reaching out to new students immediately through an orientation workshop once they arrive at UCLA,” Beshay said.

Beshay said he hopes the workshops continue in future years.

“It’s an effort that we hope to maintain through the years, and see how to expand on them to create a more comprehensive method of introducing the international students to the Bruin life,” he said.

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  • Lance

    This is a wonderful program that int’l students should take advantage of because simply being an international student is difficult, on top of our already complex culture and language. Assimilation assistance must come from numerous sources to aid these young people embarking on their life’s journey. Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and even informative books to extend a cultural helping hand so we all have a win-win situation.

    An award-winning worldwide book/ebook in the UCLA bookstore that reaches out to help anyone coming to the US is “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” It is used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors. It also identifies “foreigners” who became successful in the US and how they’ve contributed to our society, including students.

    A chapter on education explains how to be accepted to an American university and cope with a confusing new culture, friendship process and daunting classroom differences. Some stay after graduation. It has chapters that explain how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work with/for an American firm here or overseas.

    It also has chapters that identify the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.

    Good luck to all at UCLA or wherever you study or wherever you come from, because that is the TRUE spirit of the American PEOPLE, not a few in government who have the loudest voice!