World Learning is delighted to feature Global UGRAD host partner George Mason University (GMU), which is one of the many valued higher education institutions that host program participants during their U.S. semester. Krista Uhrig, operations coordinator in the office of International Enrollment Partnerships at GMU, shares some of the ways the institution promotes international connections on campus. You can find out more about the university on their website.
1. How long have you been working at GMU? What is your role?
I started at GMU in 2018. I am the operations coordinator in the office of International Enrollment Partnerships. In addition to supporting students on the Global UGRAD Program, I manage articulation agreements between Mason and international partner universities.
2. What does your orientation for international students involve?
George Mason University’s orientation is co-sponsored by the office of New Student and Family Programs and the office of International Programs and Services. Typically, GMU has an in-person orientation for new international students and scholars, but it has been virtual recently due to COVID-19. Orientation addresses many important issues for the successful transition to GMU, such as student services, U.S. American cultural norms, academic integrity, and visa regulations. In-person orientation also gives students opportunities to interact socially and meet new and continuing GMU Patriots.
3. Can you briefly describe a handful of campus clubs, events, and/or programs that are designed with international students in mind?
The Office of International Programs and Services offers many opportunities to engage with other students such as a buddy program and the International Café. The biggest event they host, though, is International Week. International Week is during the spring semester and there is a whole week of activities across campus. The week culminates in a Dance Competition held in the Center for the Arts on campus. Student clubs present dances from around the world and it is a wonderful celebration of the diverse groups on GMU’s campus.
4. Please share a positive takeaway or memorable story from your work with Global UGRADs.
GMU hosted one Global UGRAD student during the spring 2020 semester when the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact campus life in the U.S. That was a very difficult time filled with uncertainty for all students and staff at GMU. I was very impressed with the maturity, perseverance, and resilience of our Global UGRAD student. She reminded me how important it is to stay positive during stressful times, and to always ask for help when needed.
5. What is your favorite place on campus and why?
The GMU Fairfax campus is designated as an arboretum so there are many beautiful spots to enjoy nature. One of my favorites is the Wotring Courtyard. It is exciting to see the trees go through their seasonal phases and it is a very quiet and contemplative place to take a break during busy days.