Festive Semester Start For New International Students
Party Welcomes CU Denver First-Time International Students
As an international student, when you step onto the CU Denver campus for the first time, it’s expected that you’ll have many questions. What are the best available class times? Are there employment opportunities? What is like to live in the city? One question that you may have will be answered immediately – loudly and clearly – you are welcome here! Nothing exemplifies this better than the one of the first events of the semester: The International Student Welcome Party. Hosted by the Office of International Affairs, the Welcome Party is one of many festive events and cultural activities that are designed specifically for international students’ enjoyment and integration into the community experience. The Party kicks off your educational experience on a high note – with games, meet-and- greet socializing with other students, faculty, and staff, delicious international cuisine, and an atmosphere of pure Colorado fun.
“There’s a great class of international students at the University of Colorado Denver this year; we’re really glad to have them here,” explained Nathanial Lynch, Sr. International Services Specialist in International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS). “The ISSS team meets individually with each student to help him or her with immigration questions, academic advice, and cultural adjustment; we support them as they navigate through their first year, as well as throughout all of their semesters at CU Denver.”
Edward, whose home country is Ghana, is a new student enrolled in CU Denver’s Business School; he is working toward a master’s degree in accounting. “Colorado is a vibrant state that is full of activities; Denver is a cosmopolitan area with a variety of people from different cultural groups,” Edward observed. “Everyone I’ve met at CU Denver is very nice; I’ve also met people from my own country, whom I had not met previously.”
One of Edward’s new acquaintances and fellow countrymen, Felix, is focused on a graduate level degree in economics. “I’m particularly interested in the sustainable development of resources in different countries, and their related economics.” Felix has traveled to a number of countries around the world. This is his first visit to Colorado; he arrived just in time to experience another “first’, a light, refreshing snowfall in beautiful downtown Denver.
Students at the party, both undergraduate and graduate levels, had traveled to campus from China, India, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. Their CU Denver degree programs range from accounting to communication to economics to engineering to information systems – and more.
Several students already had work experience in their home country or in the U.S. They enrolled at the University of Colorado Denver to sharpen skills that are necessary for advancement in their respective careers.
“I worked for six years in India and developed my managerial skills,” said Sneh. “I enrolled in the MBA in international business and am also learning about information systems, with the aim of honing my technical abilities.”
After graduating from the University of Colorado Denver, a number of international students like to continue their learning experiences through Optional Practical Training (OPT). For students with an F-1 visa status who have completed their degrees, OPT is a program that enables students to work for one year on a student visa to obtain practical training that complements their education. CU Denver is located in the heart of the metropolitan Denver, home to a thriving business environment. Metro Denver has been ranked #1 as “Best Place for Business and Careers” by Forbes and #2 for “Best Places to Live” by U.S. News & World Report.
The “livability factor” that students are often looking for includes access to affordable public transportation, on and off-campus housing options, museums and cultural events, and safety.
“It feels safe here; I walk from my dorm to the campus library at night,” said Jufei, a student from China who is earning her master’s in communication. She is new to CU Denver and this was her first time to live in the U.S.
“When you have questions about your studies, health insurance, what to do in case of an emergency, and advice about jobs and career development, there are people here who can help and guide you. There is a focus at this university on a student’s development.”
Several students commented that they learned about CU Denver through online searches, talking to friends, and reading the international/university websites. Sneh noted that the Graduate School was quick to respond to her inquiries, which created a favorable impression. She is also pleased to be going to a prestigious school that is set in a scenic location. “I love winter sports; I skied in India and look forward to skiing in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.”
Another party guest from China, Sophie, is in her last semester of classes. Her degree will be in mathematics with a focus on data analytics. She commented that the professors had been helpful and the students had been friendly during her semesters at CU Denver.
“My advice to other international students is to get involved in your classes,” said Sophie. “Speak up! Connect with your professors and with the other students.”
“That advice can include connecting with our team in the Office of International Affairs,” said Lynch. “CU Denver is definitely committed to student success – for every student.”