For those experiencing the pressure of culture shock during their process of adjusting to life in the United States, the International Center at California Baptist University provides assistance.
Programs such as Conversation Partners allow students in the Intensive English Program to be paired with a partner who guarantees a shoulder to lean.
“We try to give our international students the tools and knowledge they need so that when they do hit a stage of dissatisfaction, they aren’t afraid of that part of the process,” said Leslie Shelton, director of International Student Services. “That way they have an understanding that this is normal and everyone goes through this.“
Any CBU student can become a conversation partner, allowing international students and students from the United States the possibility to learn from one another.
“I wanted to get involved because it’s great gateway into the international community,” said Larissa Hoopaia, sophomore criminal justice major and conversation partner. “When you get to know your partner, you get a glimpse into their culture and how far your partner has come along throughout the years.”
Many international students said they find the program to be the smoothest way CBU has aided them in transitioning into the American lifestyle, by consistently learning English with American students.
“The IEP program has been a good way in helping me learn English,” said Rainie Huang, sophomore piano performance major and international student from China. “It allowed me to meet a lot of people through meeting with my conversation partners who challenge me to help my English get better.”
International students said they are grateful for the consistent support the International Center and their conversation partners offer in all aspects of their lives.
“They help me a lot, not only in my academics but also in my daily life. CBU lets me know Jesus and he gives me so much confidence now,” said Gladys Guo, freshman environmental science major and international student from China.
Many students like Huang said they enjoy other opportunities provided to them by the International Center.
The International Center creates a comfortable environment for both international students and American students to mingle at different events held on campus throughout the fall and spring semesters.