Year after year, the Carlson School's Undergraduate Program welcomes international students from all over the world. While these students are always at the top of their academic game, they're oftentimes not familiar with America's game (football), nor are they well attuned to American social norms, or the Carlson School's and the University's academic guidelines.
To help introduce new, degree-seeking international students into their new environment, the Undergraduate Program office conducted a month-long series called Carlson Global Connect to better prepare the students for their four years at the Carlson School. The series is the only one of its kind at the University.
"I was once an international student at the University, so I know what it's like to be not only new to a school, but new to a country as well," says Anny Lin, creator of Carlson Global Connect and academic advisor with responsibility as undergraduate international student liaison of the Undergraduate Program office. "We actually held one Global Connect event once before and it was a hit with the students. For this second effort we expanded it as a series to offer an even more robust, well-rounded introduction to the school, University, and country."
International students hailing from Norway, Vietnam, Korea, to China participated in four information sessions and panel discussions, starting with an evening of meeting various professors from nearly every department in the Carlson School.
"The real beauty of the series was that we had panels comprised of upper-level international Carlson students to answer questions and share ideas," says Lin. "So, for the Leadership and Engagement session, for example, there was a good exchange between the panel and the students about how leadership styles are different from country to country. The panel members could really relate and then convey what they've learned during their time at the school."
The session also covered prevailing leadership principles in the U.S., why leadership is so important at the Carlson School, and how students can get involved at the school and University.
With a new education system comes new academic rules and requirements for international students. The International Student Academic Information session was devoted to clarifying the Liberal Education requirements and Carlson School requirements, academic policies, and to helping the students understand the learning methods and perspectives implemented in the classroom.
"We had some fun on the final day," says Lin of the American Student Life session, which included a tutorial on American football, an explanation of "Minnesota Nice," and pointers on how to befriend American students.
"These are academically-driven students, but they're also young adults who want the same college experience as their American counterparts. I think Carlson Global Connect gave them a solid foundation from which to achieve that," Lin says.
Carlson Global Connect is planned to be conducted again in October 2011.