International student orientation helps to bridge gap between cultures

California Baptist University’s International Center hosts an orientation every year for new international students. From Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, more than 100 new international students were welcomed into CBU.

The orientation included activities ranging from an introduction to American culture to opening an American bank account.

“International Orientation is tailored to the needs of international students who need further acclimation to American culture,” said Joseph Gemignani, graduate assistant for the International Center. “It serves as a precursor and bridge to New Student Orientation with the intention of preparing the international students to get the most out of New Student Orientation with the rest of the incoming class.”

Many new international students were coming to the United States for the first time, including Jeferson Luiz Branco, senior architecture major, who said he was surprised by how friendly Americans are.

“Everybody’s so nice,” Branco said. “Everyone always told me that Americans were kind of mean, more cold. Now that I’m here I see that everyone’s so nice and cool,” Branco said.

One of the events included was the classic American sport baseball. The students went to a game between two rival teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, on Aug. 31 at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

“I didn’t understand anything at the baseball game,” Branco said. “I totally need to go to another game, but it was really nice to be in a stadium.”

The students also had a beach day at the Santa Monica Pier. They played volleyball, soccer and Frisbee. Gemignani said he and many students enjoyed the beach day at the Santa Monica Pier the most.

Cultural differences can create unforgettable stories. As Branco said, he has already made many memories with the short time he has been here.

“Every time I meet someone new, it’s like a weird dance,” Branco said. “We don’t know if we should hug or kiss. We usually kiss  (in Brazil) but here usually you hug, so it’s like a dance.”

The students had a session where they were able to meet the chairs and deans of the different departments at CBU. They also had a presidential lunch reception with Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, CBU president.

Shyam Baddam, a graduate student in the master of business administration program, came to America for the first time to attend CBU. He said the warm welcome at the airport helped him feel that there were people there for him.

“When I came to the land of Los Angeles, everyone was saying hi,” Baddam said. “I thought I would be homesick, but when I came here, I made a lot of friends at orientation.”

About Iona Brannon

News Editor

Leave a Reply