Every semester, students come from other countries to study at Arkansas Tech. They’re in a new environment with new people, new cultures and a new language. With the help of the Office of International and Multicultural Student Services’ Global Connect, these students have the opportunity for an easier transition.
International Student Advisor and Assistant Director for Programming Lindsey Ingmire said Global Connect helps international students branch out into the Tech community and improve their English speaking skills.
“A lot of our students come and find that they have a substantial community of students, either from their home countries or other international students that speak their language, so a lot of times they stay in their comfort zones,” Ingmire said.
Once students decide to get out of their comfort zones, however, they can contact the IMSSO to receive a conversation partner.
With a Global Connect partner, Ingmire said the international students have the benefit of meeting students outside of their culture, learning more about the culture they’ve come to and hopefully meeting a friend.
“In doing that, our American students shed light on different organizations, clubs, programs and events happening on campus that maybe the international students aren’t attending because they don’t know anyone, or they feel like they’re not welcome to those programs. With a friend, they certainly feel more comfortable going,” Ingmire said.
Miyu Fujita, a sophomore hospitality major from Japan, said “I’ve been here for about a year and a half, and it’s still hard to speak English and make American friends, so Global Connect helps.”
For American students, Ingmire said they get to learn leadership and mentoring skills that they can put in a resume, and they get to learn about a new culture.
“I’m from Dover, and there just wasn’t a whole lot of opportunities to meet someone from outside this area, much less outside of Arkansas, so if you’re like me, then this may be a unique opportunity for you,” Ingmire said.
Ingmire said she never has a lack of international students that want a conversation partner but does have a lack of American partners.
“I want them to know that it is not a super serious, structured program. It is sponsored through our office. I make sure that I pair people up, but from then on, it’s all about what you and your partner decide is fun to do,” Ingmire said. “If you want to meet for coffee, meet for coffee. You don’t have to talk about academics, and I encourage all types of conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Have fun with it. This is supposed to be a fun program.”
Students who would like to know more about the Global Connect program can contact Ingmire at (479) 964-0832 or email@example.com. She also encourages students to stop by her office, Room 127 in Tomlinson.
For more information about the IMSSO or the Global Connect program, visit www.atu.edu/imsso.