By Leanne Signoriello – Opinion Editor
International Student Services has taken on a new interactive way to help incoming international students adapt to their new college setting this semester by launching the International Buddy Program.
The International Buddy Program, created by Program Coordinator Sarah Driscoll, is designed to welcome incoming international students to Lasell by pairing them with a current domestic Lasell student and show them the school while building a new relationship. Students are able to apply online by filling out a short questionnaire that helps give a better idea of one’s interests, hobbies, and other commitments.
“Both parties get to create mutually beneficial relationship and get to meet someone new that maybe they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet before,” said Driscoll.
Each pair will participate in a variety of group events put on by the program as well as meet with their buddy at least twice a semester to do activities as a pair.
“The program itself is a semester long commitment and we have a few large group events throughout the semester along with several events that the pairs choose to do on their own,” says Driscoll. “Students will have lunch together, go to a basketball game, go get a coffee, and we’ve even had buddies get manicures in downtown Boston together. Sometimes it can even be helping each other do more practical things such as setting up a bank account.”
Prior to the semester, applicants that are selected to take part in the program will participate in a training program of a short workshop, consisting of simulations that teach cultural sensitivity and bring up the concept of cultural differences.
“I feel like the program is really good because it takes a student from Lasell and gives them an opportunity to learn a lot more, especially about other cultures, by introducing them to someone who is not from this country,” says senior Bianca Cuevas, one of the program’s 10 domestic Lasell students who has made a new friendship out of this program. “I don’t even consider my buddy ‘my buddy,’ I consider her my friend.”
“My mission here is to build this cultural bridge and have it not be ‘these are international students and these are domestic students’ but have it be ‘these are Lasell students,’” says Driscoll.