UI mentoring program encourages student integration

My first and last impression of Iowa City would always be “too cold and too much snow.”

When I first came to Iowa in January, 2012, everybody told me it was a mild winter, still it was too cold and too rough for me — an international transfer from Hangzhou, a city located on Southeast coast of China.

Believe me, January is not a good time to restart your life in Iowa. Till today, I remember breaking down the third day after I came here, crying for at least 30 minutes in my apartment on Broadway Street. Without having any connections in Iowa, I found myself helpless and hopeless that spring.

I’m sure that I’m not the only international student who had a rough start in the United States, and I have always thought that the University of Iowa should offer international new comers more than a week-long orientation.

With the number of international students rising on campus, things are changing for them.

The Daily Iowan reported recently that starting this coming fall semester, the UI will offer incoming international students a mentorship program to help them integrate to Iowa and the United States comfortably. It’s called Global@Iowa.

Instead of taking a short orientation separately from domestic students, international students will take an online course the first half of the semester, and the second half of the semester, they will meet with mentors — mostly international studies majors — who will help them better integrate into the UI campus life and American culture, according to the DI.

Cultural integration can be a sociologist’s lifelong research subject. But here at Iowa, it starts from the collaboration between domestic and new international students.

Every single step counts.