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UW International Students Connect with Domestic Students

November 11, 2019
four men standing together
UW Global Buddies Program co-leaders for this semester are, from left: Lucas Wang, of Taiwan; Robert Millar, of Northern Ireland; Jackson Barrier, of Fort Collins, Colo.; and Dusten Strock, of Lakewood, Colo. (UW Photo)

International students help the University of Wyoming achieve its global engagement mission of creating a university community that engages, thrives and leads in an interconnected and interdependent global society.

Connecting international students with other UW students is a key part of that effort, and one program that helps international students and domestic students get to know one another -- and understand one another’s cultures -- is the Global Buddies Program.

“It’s a great way to meet new people, and it’s a great way to get a bit of internationalization here in small-town Wyoming,” says Dusten Strock, a Global Buddies Program leader and senior from Lakewood, Colo., majoring in secondary social studies, political science and international studies. “We match international students -- either exchange or degree-seeking -- with American students who have gone abroad or are interested in going abroad.”

The groups of four to five are matched up based on interest. They meet frequently, and there are larger monthly meetings when participants in the program take part in activities such as cookie decorating, scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, international cuisine, movies and pumpkin carving. 

“I thought it would be really fun,” says Sunil Raju Vysyaraju, a recent geographic information systems graduate from India who participated in Global Buddies the past two years. “International students feel a little scared and don’t know how to talk to people and do things. We can easily become friends (through Global Buddies) and understand different ideas and cultures.”

Last year, 68 students participated in the program. This year, there are close to 90 students participating.

In addition to the program, Strock enjoys having international students in his classes at UW.

“We tend to talk about things from an American perspective,” he says. “They come in with their own perspective. Once, in a class, we were talking about the Iraqi war. We had a student from Iraq in that class. She was able to give a different perspective on that whole conflict and how it affected Iraq. She was able to talk about the long-term impacts and what it was like during the war. No place is going to suffer for having a variety of culture.”

This fall, UW welcomed 625 new and returning international students from 85 countries.

“Global engagement is about advancing comprehensive internationalization,” says Associate Vice Provost for Global Engagement Anthony Ogden. This includes welcoming to campus the best and brightest students from around the world.

Strock also recommends education abroad for UW students. He spent a semester studying in Germany and also participated in a faculty-directed course in Finland.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say it’s the best decision I made at UW -- to go study abroad,” he says.

UW is expanding its education-abroad offerings, working to involve more students and faculty members. The university also is working to increase the number of international students who study here.

“We try very hard to make our international students feel welcomed here,” says Jill Johnson, director of International Students and Scholars. “We truly do feel like they are a part of our families.”

Contact Us

Institutional Communications

Bureau of Mines Building, Room 137

Laramie

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2929

Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window) Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)

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