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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


What international students need to know about campus

Marison Bilagody

The sign of the UA Global Center, located on North Park Avenue. The center is home to many resources, including International Student Services, Study Abroad and UA Passports, as well as various international food options.

The University of Arizona’s Global Center is the chief resource for anything international on campus. The center is primarily responsible for recruiting and welcoming Arizona’s international students, coordinating and matching students with study abroad opportunities and fostering collaboration with a worldwide network of nearly 150 global universities — most of which teach classes internationally for UA course credits.

A large part of UA Global’s responsibility is serving the needs of international students as they arrive to Tucson and become culturally acclimated to academia in the United States. 

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UA Global’s International Student Services office, or ISS, helped describe their role as an international student resource in an email interview with the Daily Wildcat: “Our International Student Services team provides our international students the support they need to overcome the challenges that are unique to studying in a foreign country, including immigration advising, cultural and academic support, and other programming that helps them connect to other domestic and international students.” 

ISS said their office specifically attends to the needs of first year international students and provides campus resources to said students through orientation programs, language instruction assistance and through social networks designed to help first year international students make on campus connections, and feel more at home in Tucson. 

“We are continuously impressed with our international students,” the ISS office said. “Beyond overcoming many of the same challenges that all incoming freshmen face, they have the added challenges of acclimating to a new culture and operating in a foreign language. Anyone who has spent time living in another country knows how difficult it can be to shop for groceries, make new friends, and learn how to succeed in a very different academic environment. That is why we have programming to help our students overcome these challenges, both big and small.”

UA Global has developed a buddy program to pair incoming international students with local students on campus, a global ambassadors program where international students discover on campus leadership roles and an International Student Advisory Council as a governing body that gives advocacy and agency to international students’ voices. 

While UA Global through ISS works to help international students connect with a local academic landscape, it also helps connect domestic students to international study and work opportunities through Arizona’s study abroad programs. 

The study abroad office at the UA said that part of their mission is making an international education available to all students, no matter your major, nationality or grade. 

“As we talk to incoming freshmen, our key messaging is that study abroad is an opportunity for everyone,” the ISS office said. “By encouraging students to plan ahead, we hope to give them a head start on choosing the right program to complement their academic plan, while helping them to navigate any financial questions with access to information and funding opportunities.” 

For first year students eager to travel early, UA Global provides a global bridge program to provide students with international university experience before arriving to Tucson, in a six-credit summer trip to Italy. This program is one of many study abroad trips UA Global has to offer, with courses at nearly 150 campuses worldwide offered in almost every major or minor degree program. 

The ongoing travel restrictions from COVID-19 have blocked most opportunities for study abroad this upcoming fall. UA Global and ISS are working continuously to also accommodate the needs of international students facing travel and visa restrictions during the pandemic. 

“New and continuing international students who are currently outside the US face challenges returning due to travel restrictions and delayed visa processing in US embassies and consulates around the world,” the ISS office said. “With that said, the majority of our continuing international students have remained in the US during the pandemic, and we are currently working with administration to develop guidelines for them to have academic experiences that meet the ever-changing immigration requirements and the safety guidelines laid out by the CDC.”

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