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UC Merced Meets World

August 31, 2007

UC Merced Meets World

If you notice a different vibe on campus this fall, it might just be the increased presence of global influences. You could even say this is the year UC Merced becomes an international campus.

About 40 international students are on campus this semester under F-1 visa status.  These students hail from Bolivia, China, Colombia, England, Germany, India, Japan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Nepal, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey. Many of these students are
studentswho have chosen UC Merced because of the expertise of a particular faculty member. Some are also
international undergrads.

Nineteen of them gathered on Friday, Aug. 24 in the Kolligian Library for an orientation session sponsored by the International Students and Scholars Office to learn about maintaining their visa status as well as practical information about Social Security, banking, taxes, driver’s licenses and housing. They heard from administrators and staff as well as continuing international students who could offer been-there, done-that advice and support.

One of the hallmarks of University of California campuses is being international, said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Keith Alley in his address to the students. International students can be catalysts who inspire others to seek out international learning experiences.

Alley said the international grad students were in a particularly good position to influence undergraduate students in their jobs as teaching assistants.

Some UC Merced undergrads are already pursuing international studies. Through the
UC Education Abroad Program,22 students will be out of the United States this year enriching their lives and minds.

Some grad students from other countries have already banded together to create an informal international house off campus.

In addition, UC Merced’s growing faculty can boast an increasingly international set of experience and expertise. While several of these professors are now citizens of the United States, their diverse heritage and experience still enriches the culture on campus.

It’s important to show the benefits of diversity, both for our campus and for the community around us, said Sheryl Lichtig-Wyan of the International Students and Scholars Office.