As the fourth-ranked public institute for international student population, Purdue University has accordingly developed several programs for international students to experience American culture.
The College of Liberal Arts started a program that pairs up international and domestic students that is now in its second semester.
The program’s purpose is to build friendships between international and domestic students that lasts beyond the term.
“For international students, we most likely only stay in this country temporarily. Eventually, most of us will return to our home country,” said Yuan-Yu Morgan, coordinator of international student services and former international student.
According to Morgan, the program allows international students to experience culture at a personal level, allowing them to be able to fully learn it.
“In the long run, who knows, some of our international students can be diplomats or business people,” Morgan said. “I believe this type of activity will create more friendliness between the nations.”
The international and domestic student pair-up program ran for the first time in fall 2018 under the direction of program leader MaKenna Doherty.
“I became an intern for (the) College of Liberal Arts International Student Council, (and) I was really interested in pairing up my organization, Association for Women in Communication, with their program,” said Doherty, AWC president and a sophomore student in communications.
“From there, I developed the idea with the help of Dr. Morgan into a program for international and domestic students to just be able to come together,” Doherty said.
The program seems to be developing nicely after the previous experiments. According to Morgan, a similar program existed before which failed to reach its goal.
In the old program, the directors tried to set the “international and domestic student pair-up” as an extra credit assignment for COM 320. However, they found that even though there were enough domestic students, there were few international students who were willing to take part in the program.
Morgan has faith in the development of the program.
“Because we have students enthusiastic from both (clubs), I think it works better this time,” Morgan said.
After one semester, the program has matured with several changes coming this semester.
“Last semester we didn’t really do any events together as a group,” Doherty said. “So this semester we want to create some changes. We are doing some free events on campus together as a group, just to hang out, get to know each other more as a whole.”
As the program progresses, Morgan has set her next goal for the program.
“There is a certain group of students who (are not in the program and who) tend to isolate themselves; it is very hard to reach them,” she said. “This would be my next goal, to reach these students, and personally invite them.”