Building Global Friendships
Thanks to an assignment in a first-year writing course, students are getting to know the international students better on campus.
It’s an opportunity to build positive relationships, says Dr. Dawn Duncan, professor of English.
With the help of the Intercultural Affairs staff, Duncan connects each student in her class with a first-year student from abroad. Students schedule at least three social meetings together.
They attend campus events, go shopping, prepare favorite meals together, dine in Anderson Commons or meet in residence halls.
“They are engaging each other in a meaningful way,” Duncan says.
Both groups of students say this method helps them connect with each other.
“I need this structure because I’m pretty shy and not very outgoing, especially with someone I don’t know,” says Kylie Windecker ’16, Moorhead.
Tsugumi Shirai ’16, Japan, feels the same way.
“International students only hang out with each other,” she says. “We have coming from another country in common.”
Duncan’s class has brought together 19 students from 15 countries with Americans mostly from the Midwest. As the two groups get to know each other, Duncan’s students write about what they are learning.
“I think this is a good idea, because now I have a new friend on campus,” says Josefin Karlsson ’15, Sweden.
Duncan says the papers written by students reveal that budding friendships are being formed.
“The world is present on our campus, so let’s all be a part of it,” says Duncan. “We’re seeing that students like discovering things about other people and cultures. The hardest part is making the initial connection.”