The University of Vermont welcomed its newest cohort of international students on Monday, August 20th. What followed was an orientation week filled to the brim with activities and sessions to help better prepare students for life in and out of the classroom at one of the top 100 universities in the USA (U.S. News & World Report, 2018). Global Gateway Program students left the orientation on Friday with the proper tools to succeed and the confidence in their own ability to use them.
With the help of orientation student leaders, GGP students learned a tremendous amount in their first week on campus. Students were treated to some of the breathtaking scenery during the orientation leader-led tours across campus. Orientation leaders then regaled students with first-hand accounts of their early days on campus, as international students themselves, and provided insight on what they’ve done to stay involved on campus. They also discussed their favorite things about UVM and Burlington as a whole.
Students spent much of the week learning about the academic system in the United States as well as what the GGP entails, specifically. Discussions on what instructors expected from students and various cultural differences were also highlighted within these sessions. While some students were nervous about the inherent differences between the educational systems in the United States versus that of their home countries, they, too, felt excited for their classes to begin. One of the primary concerns voiced by international students was the expectation that students be actively involved in their classes. To help quell this concern, several skits were performed to help exhibit proper classroom behavior and showcasing the benefits of in-class participation.
Current students and staff members also discussed, in a session, the benefits of getting involved on campus. The possibility of building one’s resume, having fun, making new friends, giving back to the community, staying healthy, and improving English language skills were cited as primary reasons for remaining engaged with the campus at large. UVM students have the ability to get involved with a wide variety of clubs and organizations, such as: The Outing Club, Ski Club, and the Student Government Association.
Arriving in the U.S. to study can be an overwhelming and stressful experience. But, with the support of a welcoming community like the University of Vermont, students have the ability to obtain a level of comfort, make new friends, and enjoy themselves as they start on this new educational journey.