One of the University of Utah’s beloved annual events, International Night, will be making its in-person return on Friday, November 18 of this year, for the first time since 2019.
The night will include food, performances from international students and local groups, and tabling by international student clubs as a way to celebrate the diverse global population at the U.
The effort is spearheaded by the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS)’s new Orientation Coordinator, Addison Eckhoff (BA Linguistics & Religious Studies ’18 / MA Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies ’20), who is revamping a number of ISSS programs, the capacity of which were greatly limited during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of these is the International Ambassador program, through which students (predominantly international) offer a comprehensive and engaging orientation geared specifically toward incoming international students.
International orientation was held online through electronic forms and webinars from 2020 through the spring of 2022. In preparation for this fall semester, however, the 10 newly-appointed international ambassadors hosted a hybrid orientation, and plan to hold social events throughout the year to help international students get adjusted to life in the U.S., and feel at home at the U.
“I am so excited about the new opportunities that we have for this semester and into the future,” says Eckhoff. “After the pandemic slowed down our in-person capabilities, we had to adjust … Now that we are able to meet in-person much more, we look forward to reimagining what our international orientation and engagement process looks like.”
Another exciting resurgence is that of the International Student Council (ISC), a student organization supervised by ISSS whose purpose is to provide resources and support to the U’s international student community.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, ISC remained active through online events and limited-capacity, in-person gatherings. The group held a fully synchronous International Night in the spring of 2021, complete with a K-Pop dance tutorial and breakout rooms for cultural awareness education.
In the following fall semester, ISC hosted an International Showcase, where cultural clubs at the U tabled and shared parts of their cultures, safely distanced from one another.
This fall, the International Student Council will once again take on the responsibility of hosting a large-scale, in-person International Night as the headlining event for International Education Week. The event aims to spotlight the diverse international community and bring the greater University community together as well.
“We are very much looking forward to holding in-person events and fostering a sense of community for our international students after three long years. We will offer as much as we can to help all international students this year,” says Andy Pan, peer advisor for ISSS and the 2022-2023 vice president for ISC.
International Education Week 2022 will take place from Monday, November 14 through Friday, November 18 this fall. The week is a unique collaborative effort between several departments at the U – including all three Global U offices, the Hinckley Institute of Politics, the Center for Business, Health, and Prosperity, the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs, the International Studies Program, the Division of Public Health, and the University of Utah Asia Campus.
The week will include a series of both in-person and virtual events aimed at increasing awareness of the international community at the U, and educating the public through direct engagement with diverse cultures from around the world.
For more information on International Education Week, head over to global.utah.edu/iew.
To learn more about the revitalized ISSS programs, visit isss.utah.edu.
Applications for International Student Council membership can be found on getinvolved.utah.edu (look for the International Student Council on the website).