Riverside, Calif. – More than 90 new international students are being welcomed at California Baptist University this week as part of International Orientation.
The orientation, held Aug. 28-31, helps prepare international students to adjust to life at CBU and in the U.S., said Leslie Shelton, director of International Student Services. For many students, it will be their first time in the country and they can experience culture shock, she added.
“Incoming international students often face a lot of different transitions than your traditional freshman or transfer student,” Shelton said.
Shelton said the orientation will introduce the international students to the CBU campus and explain how to get connected. It also includes general information on the City of Riverside in addition to relevant issues such as health insurance and immigration support. The students also undergo an English evaluation at the orientation to determine if they are proficient in the language or if they need to enroll in the Intensive English Program.
Social activities such as a barbecue and bowling also are planned during orientation to help the students get acquainted and connected with staff and their fellow international students.
“We really just want to set them up for success as best we can in transitioning to the U.S. but also transitioning to an education system that is completely different from their own,” said Shellyn Beltran, assistant director of International Student Services.
International students registered at CBU this fall come from Asian countries including China, India, Indonesia and Japan as well as nations in Europe and Africa.
“I’m looking forward to learning new cultures and making friends from other parts of the world,” said Ane Olaeta, a freshman from Spain, who came to CBU to be a part of the women’s basketball team.
Olawumi “Rebecca” Omofomah is a graduate student from Nigeria, who is pursuing her master’s in leadership and organizational studies. Omofomah said she is interested in a new educational experience.
“One of the things that made me enroll at CBU is that I wanted international exposure outside my country. I also wanted to meet other people and learn about different cultures,” Omofomah said. “I would love to be able to impact others with the knowledge and the skills that I acquire here.”
International Student Services plans events throughout the year to help international students feel welcome and connected to the CBU community by hosting cultural events such as Taste the Nations, Festival of Colors and the Lunar New Year, Shelton said.
“We want to honor our students and their culture and celebrate that with them,” Shelton said. “We also want to get our domestic students to the events, too, because it is fun to learn about [other] cultures.”
International Student Services also offers students one-on-one support. For instance, international students can be matched with an American peer to practice English. Additionally, International Student Services matches students with host families that connect with them on a regular basis including hosting meals and holiday activities.
Shelton said CBU International students also have chapel services, consisting of Bible teaching and small group discussion. CBU wants to help international students thrive not only academically but socially, emotionally and spiritually, she explained.
“We strive to make sure our students feel acclimated, that they feel accepted and that they’re a part of CBU,” Shelton said.