Denver Mayor Hosts Inaugural Event to Welcome International Students
“The Denver Mayor’s Welcome to International Students was a one-of-a-kind experience for me,” said Anshu, a student from India who is earning her master’s in urban design at the University of Colorado Denver. “I shared my experience of the event with friends who are studying at other universities in the United States, and they were amazed to find that our city’s Mayor took time out from his busy schedule to meet the international students in Denver.”
The inaugural Citywide International Student Welcome launch on September 15th attracted scores of undergraduate and graduate students from diverse countries who are studying in Denver. The international students enjoyed meeting other students and university personnel at a hosted breakfast, a kick-off rally with inspiring speeches, a city resource fair, and tours into several of the city’s most well-known venues: Pepsi Center, Coors Field, Denver Art Museum and History Colorado.
As Mayor Michael B. Hancock gave the keynote address, he reminisced about the impact that studying abroad had made in his life.
“As a young man, I had the unique opportunity to visit a foreign country as an exchange student,” said Mayor Hancock “Staying with a host family, I experienced firsthand the value of a welcoming city.” He noted that cities like Denver continue to be a melting pot for different cultures, ideals, values, and people.
“We have a responsibility, especially to our youth, to ensure that they feel encouraged and supported to leave their mark on our city. That means providing the tools for education and access to cultural experiences all while valuing inclusivity and above all remaining open and welcoming.”
The event evolved and resulted from the planning of the Mayor’s International Advisory Council’s (IAC). The IAC, a group of business and community leaders, that is responsible for developing an international strategic plan for Denver. The plan includes strategies to better engage students from around the world who study and live within the Mile-High City; the goal is to foster long-term educational, cultural and economic ties with international students and their families. The IAC, formed by Mayor Hancock, has its sights set on making the city more culturally fluent, globally connected, and competitive.
The International Student Welcome was developed in partnership with the University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, the University of Denver, Community College of Denver, CSU Global and Study Colorado. It also highlighted the start of CU Denver’s International Education Week, which included a Study Abroad Fair, Fall Fest, Lynx Day of Service, and other daily events for international students.
“Though physically we all, the international students, are so far away from our homes, it doesn’t really feel like we are; Denver has become our home, especially the university,” said Anshu. She explained that the city is “always bustling” with events and the people are “always very helpful”
The City and County of Denver and its university partners are committed to breaking down cultural barriers and building lifelong ties to international communities.
“It is my hope that as these students embark on a new journey, they build mutual understanding, friendship and trust the same way I did all those years ago,” said Mayor Hancock.
Sofia, a student from Greece who is earning an advanced degree at CU Denver, commented, “I enjoyed it a lot! For sure, I would suggest the event to other international students. I went to the History Colorado tour; it was a really interesting setting and I had fun exploring it with the other students.”
She added,”I got to know many people, and even though I was also busy with assignments due on that weekend, I didn’t regret it!”
The advantages of going to school in an urban environment include access to interesting cultural and social events such as the Mayor’s Welcome, and to greater learning opportunities, according to Anshu. As a student at CU Denver, she appreciates “the proximity to the downtown area, where there are many business offices, and the freedom to choose educational program subjects according to your interests, passion, and study/workload.”
She also advises other students who are considering the University of Colorado Denver and the U.S. to explore and experience the people and the events throughout the city.
“It means a lot for international students to be welcomed in a foreign country and city and into a new life—and by the Mayor himself.”
Discover more about being an international student at CU Denver through the Office of International Affairs, University of Colorado Denver: international.ucdenver.edu.
Find answers to international student and scholar questions at International Student and Scholar Services: international.ucdenver.edu/ISSS.