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Dashew Center hosts Fall Welcome for new international students, builds community

Pictured is Tom Bradley International Hall, which houses the Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars. The Dashew Center put on a welcome event for new international students Sept. 25. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Alicia Carhee

Oct. 1, 2023 6:50 p.m.

The Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars hosted a welcome event Sept. 25 to foster community among new international students.

The Dashew Center’s second annual Fall Welcome took place at an outdoor patio at Tom Bradley Hall. At the event, students lined up around the corner to receive free items such as sweaters, bags and international snacks. They also received informational pamphlets about department resources, Dashew Center programs and information about Wescom offerings.

In an emailed statement, the Dashew Center said the welcome event was designed to provide a welcoming first interaction between new international students and the UCLA community. The center added that this welcome event allows for opportunities to meet with the Dashew Center staff, assistance with opening a U.S bank account, networking opportunities and other resources that may be helpful.

Isabel Veit, a first-year pre-global studies student who lived in China and Brazil, said the Dashew Center’s welcome event helped her meet new people who – like her – experienced a culture shock after moving to the United States.

“I’m glad to be here at the international student event because I’m meeting people from different countries as well to remind me a little bit of home,” Veit said.

Hannie Xie, a first-year statistics and data science student from Singapore, also said the event was substantial and engaging because tables and booths providing resources allowed her to learn more about community life on campus.

Upon arriving on campus, Xie said she immediately noticed the size and diversity of the university’s student population.

“There’s so many people right here and it’s so diverse,” she said. “I can meet people from different backgrounds and it’s a very eye-opening experience.”

Kyra Koh, a first-year electrical engineering student from Singapore, said she is excited to join music clubs while at UCLA.

“I want to jam with people,” she said. “I never had the opportunity to do that with my friends at home so I want to find people who I can do that with.”

Veit said she also wants to attend live football games this year so she can learn more about U.S. sports culture and how UCLA has gotten to be one of the top college football programs.

Since she went to a relatively small high school, Veit said coming from a culture where soccer is more popular, the change in sports culture has been quite drastic since coming to UCLA – but has made it all the more exciting for her to learn more.

Since moving in, Veit also said she has found UCLA to be a welcoming community.

“If I had any questions, I had my roommates there to reach out to and my RA was super nice as well,” she said.

After traveling a total of 27 hours, Veit said people at UCLA greeted her and offered help since the moment she walked out of the parking lot, which made her feel welcomed.

However, the move-in process has not been smooth for all international students.

Jason Duan, a data science and health graduate student from China, said he chose UCLA because of its academic prestige and networking opportunities. Although he was already familiar with the U.S., having received his bachelor’s degree in the country and having lived in San Jose, Daun said he has had difficulty finding housing in Los Angeles.

“For international students, we definitely need more help in housing … because I assume everyone’s new to LA and the housing situation is pretty different,” he said. “Some temporary housing before moving in, some advice or information in regards to where to find housing might be useful.”

While some students did say that there is room for improvement in welcoming international students, the Dashew Center said in an emailed statement that the event plays an important role in integrating international students while they are getting settled at UCLA and in the U.S.

The center hopes students leave the event with the knowledge that the community at UCLA is excited to welcome them as new Bruins.

“We want them to know they are included, their cultures and backgrounds are valued, and they are welcome here,” the Dashew Center said in an emailed statement.

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Alicia Carhee
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