World Wide in Ada ... No Passport Required
With ONU’s commitment to diversity, ONU students don’t have to leave Ada to experience other cultures, develop lasting friendship with students from around the world, and increase their cultural competence (a highly sought-after trait in today’s global economy).
In the past five years, ONU’s international student population has more than doubled, and, this fall, we enrolled our highest number of international students – 213 students from more than 25 countries. These students have the opportunity to enrich ONU and Ada with their diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences.
We encourage ONU’s domestic students to get to know our international students, and my role, as international services coordinator, is to make that very easy by creating opportunities to bring students together. I mention several programs below in which domestic students can engage with international students and support ONU’s multicultural efforts:
This fall, ONU International Services, with the help of some active international student helpers, implemented a peer-mentorship program called Polar Pals. Through this program, current domestic students (and older international students) are paired with new international students to facilitate their transition to ONU and to serve as a resource and, most importantly, a friend throughout their first semester or first year of study.
International Student Greeters
Additionally, we have international student greeters (ISGs), current students who help with the International Orientations in the fall and spring. ISGs greet new students at the airport, assist them with moving into their residence halls, attend orientation sessions alongside the new students, and help them with various settling-in tasks such as opening a bank account, shopping for groceries and learning where their classes are located.
World Student Organization
The World Student Organization is an active ONU student group with a global theme. The group, comprised of domestic and international students, hosts several events and trips throughout the year to encourage international students’ integration into the community and to give students a chance to explore other parts of Ohio. The most popular WSO event is the annual Multicultural Fair each spring. The Multicultural Fair showcases the various multicultural student organizations on campus and provides domestic students with a glimpse into other cultures. For one night, McIntosh Center is transformed into an international hub with international cuisine, traditional clothing, music from afar, and displays of dance, song, poetry and art.
ONU International Services has partnered with Residence Life to implement the culturally focused living-learning community Global Village. It is designed to pair international students with domestic students in order to promote cross-cultural sharing and provide opportunities for members to develop long-lasting friendships, reflect on their global role in society, and lead the campus in internationalization efforts.
Whether you have a current ONU student or will have one in the future, encourage them to get involved in ONU’s international initiatives and befriend an international student. This is the time for them to expand their worldview and grow as an individual, which we give them the opportunity to do, no passport required.
Check out our first edition of the International Outlook Newsletter, created this year to showcase the accomplishments of our international students and to give the rest of the campus community a glimpse into their backgrounds and their ONU experiences. Also, read more about ONU’s International Student Services on our webpage and keep up with our activities by “liking” us on Facebook.