Stepping Up Orientation for
International Students

illustration of online learning with computers and a spaceship taking off on the screen

With the number of international students studying in the US up nearly 3 percent last year (contributing $20 billion to the US economy) and with Canadian institutions also seeing gains, creating a seamless arrival-and-welcome process that ensures the success and retention of these students is rapidly becoming a key area of investment for many institutions. At the forefront, the University of Southern California has piloted a process that includes not only an international orientation once students arrive on campus, but also an overseas, summer orientation on-site in Hong Kong to help students from Hong Kong prepare for their arrival in the US.

We turned this week to Tom Studdert and Chrissy Roth, the director and associate director of orientation programs at USC, for a few key considerations for other institutions hoping to develop more effective orientation processes for their international students. Here is some of their advice.

Planning Considerations

"In one sense, an international orientation is no different than a program for domestic students -- in that there are certain rights, responsibilities, and expectations that the students should have of us and that we have of them as members of our academic community. Build the orientation around that. You are working to key up a successful transition to the university, the city, and the US as a whole."
Tom Studdert, University of Southern California

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