This year, the College has modified International Student Orientation (ISO) by combining it with New Student Orientation (NSO). The changes will assist International Students in retaining information despite jet lag and will increase the interaction between incoming first years as a whole.
“Since students are extremely jet lagged, there have been understandable complaints about them feeling exhausted or not having enough time to rest,” said Gargi Mishra ’20, president of International Student Association (ISA).
Previously, ISO took place two days before A.R.C.H. and was directly followed by the NSO.
“[ISO] has most recently occurred two days before A.R.C.H. 5, on a Thursday and Friday,” said Assistant Director of International Student Services Kendra Morehead. “With the increase in numbers over the last couple of years, arrivals extended into Wednesday evening.”
Morehead also shed light on the importance of ensuring there was enough interaction between American and international students, which is another reason for the modifying ISO.
“We know it is important for international students to bond with other international students, but it is equally important for international students and their domestic peers to interact more intentionally together,” Morehead said. “In orientations past, international students would get to know other international students and create a bond before they even had a chance to interact with American students.”
She continued, “Although this bond is important for creating support networks between students with similar experiences, it also makes it that much harder for them to break outside of those initial bonds and build bridges with American students who arrive later. The hope is that incorporating ISO into NSO will allow those international student bonds to still be created while making it easier to form equally strong bonds to form with their American peers at the very beginning.”
In the previous orientations, which began early in the morning, a lot of information was provided from the beginning. The campus tour was also one of the activities completed during the orientation itself, along with sessions that discussed the policies of the College and the U.S.
“ISO consisted of many sessions created to help international students have a smoother transition into the U.S. and onto The College of Wooster campus,” Morehead said.
However, regardless of the consistent assistance from the organizers to make the event as leisurely as possible, students reported feeling out of place and exhausted throughout the event.
Hence, the orientation has been modified as a response to students’ feedback regarding the previous orientations. “Recent talks have led to the decision of combining the ISO with NSO, so that international students don’t have to go through four days of orientation and two days of A.R.C.H. back to back,” Mishra informed.
This year, ISO will take place on Sunday, Aug. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It will be followed immediately by the first NSO.
“We know that many international students are jet-lagged when they arrive, and much of the information we think is important for them to know during orientation often gets forgotten by the start of classes,” Morehead said. “Instead of asking international students to sit through session after session of information at the very beginning, we are splitting it up. There will be some important informational sessions, such as the F-1 Student Regulations session and a campus tour, during this ISO portion.”
She continued, “However, information about Residence Life, Security & Protective Services and Title IX will be covered during NSO, and insurance and student employment process sessions will take place during an extended version of orientation that will continue throughout the fall semester.”
“With this change, students will be hearing important information about services and resources offered at times that are most pertinent to them,” Morehead concluded.