Buddy program helps foreign students adjust to NSU

(Tahlequah, Okla.)—International students studying at Northeastern State University won’t have to tackle language, culture and academic challenges alone thanks to a new program offered by the NSU Office of International Programs.

The Be a Buddy program, now in its second year, helps foreign students deal with language barriers, cultural differences, as well as establish social contacts. The NSU program has generated tremendous interest from students—both international and stateside.

“The program is designed to make the shift to campus life as easy and enjoyable as possible for our international students,” said Angelika Copp, office manager for international programs. “A buddy plays an important role in this process and can be a vital source of information and support.”

For the fall 2011 semester, each new international student has been assigned an NSU student volunteer who has been at NSU for at least a year to serve as a friend and mentor. The Buddy contacts the international student regularly to answer questions and assist with concerns regarding campus and community life.

“We try to pair the students and volunteers by gender and interests so that they have some common ground from which to work,” Copp said. “Another goal is to help them establish friendships. Through their volunteers, these students can meet new people and make friends for life.”

NSU President Martin Tadlock said the campus community has always enthusiastically upheld its responsibility to make international students feel welcome.

“International students have the same goals, dreams and hopes as our domestic students,” he said. "We acknowledge that through our efforts to help those who come here. We want them to learn about this place we call home, become our friends and be a part of our communities. We expect that to be the case when we send our students and faculty abroad as well."

Copp said a long-term objective of the international Be a Buddy program is to foster understanding between cultures and academic success.

“The international and domestic students each can gain a broader global perspective,” she said. “Our international students literally come from thousands of miles and many time zones away from everything that is familiar. With the assistance of NSU students, this program can enhance their opportunity to succeed as students in the U.S. and earn their degrees.”

Tadlock said international exchanges between NSU and foreign institutions will increase in the coming years.

“Those increases are a given as we enter into agreements with universities in China and in other countries, and as we offer more study abroad opportunities,” he said. "Living in a global society where we are more interdependent than ever before makes this an imperative for us as a university."

Though all international students have been paired with volunteers for the fall 2011 term, Copp said NSU students can join a waiting list for future pairings.

Interested students who have completed two semesters at NSU can send an e-mail to international@nsuok.edu with “International Be a Buddy program" in the subject line or call the Office of International Programs at (918) 444-2050. 

Published: 8/5/2011 4:35:30 PM

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