The University of Central Florida’s International Services Center office reports that 1, 544 students were enrolled in the fall 2013 semester. As the international student population continues to increase, so has Student Development and Enrollment Services’ commitment to address the needs of the international student population. Since 2010, the SDES Internationalization Committee has designed and implemented campus programming that supports the university’s strategic goal of creating an international campus climate. Under the supervision of DeLaine Priest, associate vice president of SDES, the SDES Internationalization Committee has provided campus programming activities and services that promote campus involvement.
According to Darren Caine, associate director, International Services Center, “The International Services Center and SDES have established a great partnership focused on the needs of the international student population at UCF. Through collaboration on different events and services, ISC and SDES have shared a commitment to enhancing the international student experience at UCF. SDES continues to work closely with ISC to strengthen ties and remain committed to future collaborations.”
The collaborative efforts with departments across the campus and our community partners have resulted in the development of several successful initiatives. For example, the committee worked collaboratively with Student Union staff to create the international flags currently displayed in the Student Union. SDES also partnered with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to provide bikes for international students. In addition, Housing and Residence Life formed the Global Partners Living Learning Community that offers U.S. students and exchange students an opportunity to learn about different cultural experiences. Students are provided with numerous opportunities to organically foster greater understanding and awareness by sharing information about their own cultural backgrounds. This very successful program has also been very effective in helping to create an inclusive and dynamic campus climate. Other special programming includes tailored resume writing workshops sponsored by Career Services with the international student in mind.
Additionally, to provide relevant activities, international students are surveyed to determine their needs and interests. The results are used to gauge the level of campus involvement and plan events and programs for the upcoming year. Information is also shared with other departments so that they may determine how they may best support international students. Last year, committee members had the opportunity to participate in a webinar that addressed best practices for creating an international campus climate.
Reflecting on his work with the committee, student committee representative Siavash Haghtalab said, “To become more inclusive and diverse is one of the university’s strategic goals. I believe that the SDES Internationalization Committee has succeeded in meeting that goal as it not only provides the international community with tremendous opportunities and support, but it also promotes awareness among UCF faculty, staff and other communities about the unique needs of international students.”
Upcoming international student events include: International Student Panel on March 28 @ 11 a.m.-12 noon in the Student Union, Garden Key 221.
The committee also supports the ISC International Mentoring Program. Many of the current members serve as mentors for international students. For more information about how you may get involved in working with UCF international students, contact Daren Caine, assistant director, or visit: www.intl.ucf.edu.