An opportunity for meeting students and staff involved at the Office of Global Affairs and learn about other cultures.
As of Autumn Quarter 2021 here at the UWT, we have about 202 international students. In order to serve their needs, the University has the Office of Global Affairs (OGA). What the OGA does is “collaboratively foster cultural humility and build globally-interconnected communities by promoting global learning opportunities on and off-campus, build international partnerships, and support international students, scholars, and research at the University of Washington Tacoma.”
Within the OGA are three main departments: International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), Study Abroad, and Student Fellowships, which “provide a diverse array of programming for all UWT students including the Global Ambassadors program, Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), and Language Lessons.”
As a part of fulfilling the goals of fostering cultural humility and building globally-interconnected communities, there are a number of events provided by ISSS. One in particular is UWTeaTime. The UWTeaTime occurs every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at the William W. Philip Hall in room 101A (JRC Room).
The Office says that, “Although we’ve adapted a new format due to COVID-19, we are still hosting the event. The purpose of UWTeaTime is to provide a social space for international students or local students interested in meeting people from other countries. The event is also an opportunity for international students to meet ISSS staff and ask quick questions. In the past, we used to serve tea, coffee, and snacks. Due to the restrictions around eating in public spaces due to COVID-19, we are now passing out snacks at a table. Students may fill up a bag of tasty treats and take them with them.”
Other events the ISSS coordinates include ISSS Trips that are coordinated by student leaders (OGA Fellows). “Participants are invited to explore the surrounding area and build community through local day trips. This year ISSS Trips have gone to the Zoo, an escape room, and their next trip is Black Friday shopping and a movie screening at Southcenter Mall.”
When asked what problems are typically faced by international students, the OGA reports that, “International students face many unique struggles: language learning, a new academic and classroom culture, homesickness, culture shock, navigating US bureaucratic systems (Social Security, US consulates, Dept of Licensing, taxes, health insurance, etc.), and finding community. We aim to be the place they can come to discuss what they are going through. We help international students navigate these issues through individual advising sessions, orientations, workshops about employment benefits while on the F1 visa, and other activities and events. We try to do our best and we are always looking for feedback!”
For more information, please visit the OGA’s website at: https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/oga