Throughout January, the University of Wisconsin-Superior has been welcoming new and returning international students from 12 different countries for the start of spring semester.
Representatives from UW-Superior’s International Admissions, Office of Intercultural Success and Admissions teams spent much time at the Duluth International Airport during the past weeks welcoming new international students to the Twin Ports – complete with a “Welcome to UWS” sign, friendly faces and a ride to campus.
“We saw some returning UWS students as well as curious community members asking more about the students we had arriving,” said Kali Kelleher, international admissions coordinator at UW-Superior. “We hold a sign for students to be able to quickly recognize us as they leave the terminal at the Duluth airport but find it’s also a way for us to share our excitement with the community.
“On the ride to campus, many students asked questions about the area or shared their stories of finally making it to campus after some obstacles as a first-time international traveler. Some in awe of the beautiful landscape, took videos as we neared the scenic Twin Ports Harbor hoping to share the glimpse with friends and family back home. Their enthusiasm and zest for their new adventure allows me to rank ‘airport pick-ups’ as one of my favorite things to do every semester – closely following Cultural Night.”
For students who had been traveling from as far away as Japan, South Korea, India and Bangladesh, finally reaching campus was made more difficult by numerous flight delays and cancellations due to winter weather across the U.S. Some students were even forced to spend the night in another city while awaiting their new flights to Duluth. Others arrived early and took the opportunity to travel the U.S. and visit friends and family before arriving on campus.
Once safely on campus, international students participated in a full week of activities, hosted by the Office of Intercultural Success, to help acclimate to campus, including learning about on-campus services available to them, how to maintain their F1 non-immigrant/student status and ways to become involved on campus. These students even received transportation to Walmart to stock up on supplies.
“We’re particularly pleased that about a quarter of the new international students came to UWS due to word of mouth,” said Mark MacLean, director of international admissions at UW-Superior. “Ethiopian and Brazilian students came because their friends here recommended UWS. Indian and Sudanese students came because their cousin and sister, respectively, recommended UWS.”
Events also provided many opportunities to make new friends and learn more from campus leaders who are appointed as Orientation Week Leaders (OWLs). These student employees are on the ready for new student arrivals to make sure the new international students are adjusting well to the UW-Superior campus and community, and to serve as a direct resource.
“The ISS (International Student Success) team and OWLs – among others – truly do great work and put in very long hours to help make international students’ transition to UWS a success, which is especially challenging in the dead of winter,” said MacLean.
The spring semester at UW-Superior begins Wednesday, January 24.