Aug. 27, 2009
UI International Programs chosen to host Fulbright Gateway Orientation
The University of Iowa is one of only eight institutions in the U.S. chosen to host Fulbright students from around the world through the Fulbright Gateway Orientation, a program that prepares students for all facets of their experience at institutions across the nation.
The 50 students from 33 countries will arrive on the UI campus Monday, Aug. 31, to attend an orientation hosted by the UI Office of International Students and Scholars. The orientation is a benefit made available by the U.S. Department of State that provides an overview of Fulbright goals and traditions and aims to instill a Fulbright identity among students. Students will depart on Friday, Sept. 4.
The UI was chosen through a competitive process to provide an orientation for the incoming Fulbright students.
"We are quite honored to be selected for this program," said Scott King, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars. "Fulbright students become leaders within their nations and, while these students will be studying at other institutions, their initial impressions of the United States and our country's values will be coming from the University of Iowa. I feel this is validation of the quality of programming we provide to our own international students."
The orientation provides sessions on survival skills for graduate study and an understanding of current issues in U.S. society with the goal of assisting students in developing an understanding of U.S. social values for successful inter-cultural communication in their host communities.
The three main components to the orientation are academic skills, graduate student life and cross-cultural awareness. Academic skills will include sessions on the U. S. academic system, academic integrity and research skills. Graduate student life will focus on topics essential to graduate student adjustment such as stress management, legal rights as a non-citizen and getting settled, including tips on banking and housing. Cross-cultural awareness will consist of a workshop that focuses on understanding both academic and American culture.
"We are delighted to be hosting this talented group of Fulbright students from around the world," said Downing Thomas, dean of UI International Programs. "We trust that they will find our orientation program enjoyable and helpful in preparing them for a rewarding, productive Fulbright experience in the USA. Multicultural perspectives and global competencies go hand in hand, and provide new perspectives on one's home country. This is as true for Iowans as it is for our international visitors."
The Fulbright Gateway Orientation follows on the establishment in June of a new Fulbright Association in Iowa with the inaugural event hosted by UI International Programs.
UI President Sally Mason emphasized the transformative nature of international experiences when she spoke at the event.
"I suspect that, almost universally, students and scholars say that their Fulbright experience was life-changing," Mason said. "Our aim is for a university education or a higher education career to be transformative, and the Fulbright program plays an important part in making that happen for many people. We want our Fulbright alumni to take those transformative experiences and go out to change the world. But we also are keen to have those experiences continue to transform our own institutions and all those who have shared the Fulbright experience in common."
The Fulbright Association is a private, nonprofit organization of Fulbright alumni and friends committed to advancing international education and people-to-people diplomacy. The Iowa association joins 46 other chapters throughout the United States and more than 70 sister Fulbright alumni organizations abroad.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500