Programs vie for increased diversity

Members of the International Students and Scholars Services at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville strive to increase diversity as they believe that it is an important part to the overall college experience.

“We look to build a community on campus,” Liz Kruse, advisor of the International Student and Scholar Services office, said.

Kruse is eager for people to learn about what the international programs have to offer, not only to international students, but to domestic students who are looking to get involved also.

Programs like the International Student Club, Global Amigos Program and Global Lunch Hour are ways for students to get involved and interact with people from around the world.

As part of the International Education Week celebration that took place Sept. 23-27, the International Student Club, Global Amigos, German Club and Asia Club made a collaborative effort in organizing an International market where study abroad students created dishes from their native countries.  They also organized a charity night.

Michelle Seefeld, senior Spanish and Geography major, has been involved with international programs on campus since her sophomore year.  She began by attending the International Cafe, a meeting that takes place every Monday at 6 p.m. at the Writing and Tutoring Resource Center in the Oasis.  Each meeting features a different speaker who educates the audience about their native country or a study abroad experience.

“Everybody’s welcome,” Seefeld said.  “It is a very relaxed and a very fun setting.  We also have a very good group of people.”

The Global Amigos Program pairs an international student with a returning U.S. or another international student.  With over 120 international students attending UW-Platteville each year, there is a lot of opportunities to get involved with this program.  Seefeld has been a mentor in Global Amigos.

“It’s a very interesting culture sharing experience,” Seefeld said.

Lasindu Datunarachchi, an electrical engineering major originally from Sri Lanka, had a Global Amigos mentor for 2 semesters last year at UW-Platteville.

“It definitely helps a lot and is a lot of fun,” Datunarachchi said, who is still involved with the program despite no longer having a mentor.

“People should definitely join; it is a good experience to have,” Datunarachchi said.  “I absolutely love it.”

Seefeld said the programs have given her opportunities to have a more culturally diverse college experience.

To learn more about how to get involved with the international events and programs offered through the ISSS office or the International Student Club, please visit http://www3.uwplatt.edu/isss/get-involved.