Thu, 29 Oct 2020

CHICAGO, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) has been actively helping Chinese students accommodate to their academic life in the United States.

The university has conducted pre-departure orientations in China for two years. "In 2019 staff from across the university met with newly admitted students and their families in Shanghai and Beijing. In 2020, staff visited Taiwan in addition to Shanghai and Beijing," John Lucas, executive director of University Communications at UW-Madison, told Xinhua recently.

Engagement and co-curricular activities at the campus are colorful, including International Student Welcome and Information Fair, International Mentorship Program, Cross-cultural Speaker's Program, Practicing English and Cultural Exchange, Global Cafe with affiliated registered student organizations, and Annual International Student Career Conference.

"UW-Madison has had a Mandarin-speaking mental health counselor on staff since 2018 and developed a three-part mental health orientation to normalize mental health services (in 2020)," said Lucas.

Lucas told Xinhua the university has a dedicated team of international student advisors. Besides Designated School Officials (DSOs) for F-1 students and Alternate Responsible Officers (ARO) for J-1 students, who are Federal Government designations, "International Student Services (ISS) staff is fully employed by UW-Madison."

"Our ISS advisors provide guidance to F-1 and J-1 students so they can make informed decisions to make the most of their academic, professional, and personal goals while in the United States," he said.

Through presentations and conferences, ISS has educated student advisors on Chinese name pronunciation and the visa acquisition process, Lucas added.

UW-Madison has a long history of collaboration and exchange with China, which began more than a century ago. "Our relationships with institutional partners such as Nanjing University and Peking University have afforded opportunities to exchange ideas through workshops and conferences on topics ranging from higher education and linguistics to intellectual property."

"The value of these exchanges is greater intercultural understanding and the ability to work toward solutions toward challenges that are faced by the U.S., China, and much of the rest of the world," Lucas stressed.

According to College Factual 2019 statistics, the international population of students at UW-Madison has grown at an average rate of 6.3 percent over the past years. China is the largest contributor to this growth, with an estimated total of 3,350 students.

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