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02-18-2014


International buddy system begins at UC

 


Williamsburg, Ky. - The International Student Association (ISA) and the International Student Ministry (ISM) of University of the Cumberlands (UC) paired up students for the beginning of the International Buddy System.

The buddy pairing event involved American and international students who had signed up to be involved in the program. Bethany Yonts (Lexington, KY), sophomore and coordinator of ISM, and Jungwon Jo (Seoul, South Korea), senior and president of ISA, paired students by interests, majors and personalities. Yonts and Jo have assigned about fifty students to be buddies together, this will help international students transition to America and make friends. The international students will have somebody to rely on, ask questions about American culture and share their culture with their buddies.

“International Student Association’s purpose is to integrate with American students,” said Jo. “The International Student Ministry’s purpose is to reach out to international students, so it was a perfect pairing.”

At the buddy pairing event, students found their buddy by matching song lyrics or sayings together. Team building games were played and snacks were provided as well.

“It’s so crazy because games we play in Korea are played in Japan and here, but just a little bit different,” said Jo.

The two organizations started working together last semester. They hosted an international food night and international game night as their events. The ISA and ISM will work on how to improve the buddy system for next semester by finding out what works to get internationals interested and connected. The buddy system will also help incoming international freshman feel welcome and help them transition by pairing them with Americans right away.

“I think the program is a good idea and I hope it helps students become friends with others from all around the world,” said Hayley Davis (Mt. Vernon, KY) sophomore and ISM team member. “There's no greater feeling than connecting well with someone seemingly so unlike you.”

The two leaders expressed their excitement to begin a new semester with students of various cultures uniting together and being involved in campus activities. Jo said that it means a lot to the international students because they’re far away from their families and having close friends helps them not feel lonely. She knows how hard it is for them to approach Americans because she was once in a new culture and had to learn a new language when she first came to UC.

“What set me on fire was when they talked about how lonely they felt when they first came to America,” said Yonts.

ISA and ISM want to reach more ethnicity groups that are represented on campus. Even with the few that are involved in the buddy system, other students have noticed the impact that ISA and ISM are making in the students involvement on campus. The organizations will do this by hosting events in the future such as foreign film nights and game nights as well as other activities that are open to all students on campus.

“It’s all about building more communities,” said Jo.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees more than 40 major fields of study; ten pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information visit www.ucumberlands.edu.

Article Provided by Lydia Huggins, UC Multimedia and Athletic Services Student Assistant