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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA Global Ambassadors offer international students support and extracurriculars

A+past+group+of+Global+Ambassadors+and+members+of+the+Buddy+Program+took+a+trip+to+the+Buckelew+Farms+Pumpkin+Patch.+%28Courtesy+of+International+Student+Services%29
A past group of Global Ambassadors and members of the Buddy Program took a trip to the Buckelew Farms Pumpkin Patch. (Courtesy of International Student Services)

The Global Ambassadors, a program out of the University of Arizona’s International Students Services, organized a pack schedule of events for international students throughout the spring 2023 semester.

For the first trip, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26, students will take part in a guided tour of the Queen Mine in Bisbee and assist in a gunfight reenactment in the Old West town of Tombstone. The tickets, sold on Eventbrite for $25, are sold out, but it is still possible to join a waitlist. 

Diana Avdeeva, a 26-year-old Global Ambassador from Russia pursuing a master’s degree in Russian and Eastern European Studies, is planning a cultural parade. International students are encouraged to wear their traditional clothing, show their national flags and share their cultures and traditions with other foreign students, as well as Americans.

“I really love that idea because I really love the diversity of us all at the University of Arizona,” Avdeeva said.      

Once per month, international students take trips to supermarkets, such as Walmart or the Lee Lee International Supermarket, to find groceries from all over the world. 

One of the most popular activities is Coffee @ Global, which takes place every two weeks at the Global Center in the Park Student Union, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. On that occasion, international students can enjoy free coffee, play board games and meet new people. 

The GAs are currently brainstorming other events as well. These include hiking trips to locations like Mount Lemmon or Tumamoc Hill. During another day trip, international students will visit the Pima Air and Space Museum, one of the largest aircraft museums in the world, featuring 400 historic aircrafts in six indoor exhibit hangars. 

To get in touch with the local community, international students have the possibility to volunteer for a local charity to build houses and shelters for homeless people in Tucson.

The Global Ambassadors program also uses a peer support system, in which some students — American and international — volunteer to help other foreign students better integrate into American society. For example, workshops are offered to help students with filling out taxes and other types of official forms.

Syed Mohammad Zain-ul-Hassan, a Pakistani 23-year-old Global Ambassador majoring in molecular and cellular biology, appreciates the program.

“Overall, this might be seen as, ‘Oh we’re just doing like a trip or going to see the basketball game,’” he said. “It seems simple but we are actually helping them understand how to use services […]. There are certain rules you need to know, for example, when using the tram, you need to know stuff […]. There’s more to it than just connecting or having fun.”

The Global Ambassadors are also responsible for running the Buddy Program, which aims to connect international students through a Discord group and in-person organized events. The purpose of these events is to help newly arrived foreign students get familiar with the American lifestyle, while still having fun and meeting new people at the same time. 

Another key feature of the program is the aim to emotionally support students through the difficulties of being in a foreign country.

“We want to make you feel at home as much as possible, making you feel accepted, making you feel welcomed,” Avdeeva said. “So we just like trying to provide as much comfort and support as we can.”


*Sara Calosso is a student studying at the University of Arizona School of Journalism taking the JOUR 306: Advanced Reporting class. 


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