For most, coming to college is a difficult transition. It entails moving out of the house, meeting new people, and taking harder classes than ever.
Then there is enrolling in college as an international student.
On top of the typical obstacles college has in store, there is the added pressure of moving to an entirely different country — often times a country where one’s native tongue is not spoken. Furthermore, family is not even accessible by a quick drive or flight.
The Global Ambassadors Program is here to help bridge that gap created by those obstacles.
The program, which started last fall but will not actually begin to go into effect until next fall, is designed to match up an incoming international student with a “friend,” or a current Springfield College student from the United States.
“[The program] is to promote a common understanding and appreciation of different cultures,” International Center graduate associate and Global Ambassador Program organizer Casey Berg said.
These friends will undergo a three-hour training session in May that teaches them about what it is like to be an international student. From there on, they will be matched promptly with their international student so they can correspond with him or her over the course of the summer. Once at school, the friends will meet a couple times a month and will help to ease the transition into Springfield College for the international students.
The program promises to be a large step forward on a campus that has historically lacked diversity and not embraced what diversity is present to its fullest extent.
“We don’t have a ton of diversity,” Berg said. “We don’t have a giant international student body, so I think it would be good for people to experience different cultures and have these experiences.”
There have been previous attempts to start a Global Ambassador Program on campus, but the plans were abandoned due to an overwhelming commitment requirement that students were not willing to fulfill without compensation. Since then, Berg has made sure the time commitment is vastly less strenuous.
The opportunity will help students “gain an understanding and appreciation for a new culture” and provide “professional and personal experience” while serving as an “excellent résumé builder” among countless other benefits.
The opportunity will provide more than just a friend for both students, and anyone on campus looking to make a difference should inquire on what could potentially be a life-changing experience.
The application is not overly lengthy, and for more information, you can contact Casey Berg at email@example.com