The University of Central Arkansas recently announced the students chosen to be Presidential Leadership Fellows for the 2015 – 2016 academic year. This prestigious student opportunity affords students selected the opportunity to serve as student representatives of the President’s Office, while sharing their personal collegiate experience at various institutional events, on and off campus. Presidential Fellows are provided several avenue to become involved with the community and business leadership sectors around Conway. International students Azeem Adebayo and Eveline Dembele were selected to serve as Presidential Leadership Fellows this academic year. Azeem Adebayo of Ivory Coast majoring in Computer Science is excited to be a Presidential Leadership Fellow because it will give him the opportunity to be a voice of UCA outside the university. Through this program he hopes to develop leadership skills and gain leadership experience.
On Thursday May 30th, International Engagement honored graduating international students from 21 different countries at the Graduating Student Farewell. At the Graduating Student Farewell, held twice a year, students are presented with a flag sash representing their home country that students wear at the University of Central Arkansas Commencement Ceremony.
On April 17th, seven representatives from International Engagement attended the State NAFSA (National Association of Foreign Student Advisors) Meeting held April 17th at The University of Arkansas Fort Smith. Casey Jackson-Aceituno, Coordinator of Student Services, co-presented with Linda Thao of the University of Arkansas Fort Smith in a presentation titled International Education Week: Events that Put International Students Front and Center. The presentation discussed the purpose of International Education Week, held each year in the month of November, and the plethora of strategies utilized by International Engagement to increase awareness of the diverse group of international students enrolled at UCA. The focus of the presentation was on the annual IEW event, World Fest. Held each year at the UCA amphitheater, World Fest invited all international students to have a table representing their countries. There is also a ethnic clothing show and ethnic dance show during the event. The presentation concluded with a time of discussion concerning successes that each school has had in their IEW events and ideas for the future of how to improve these events.
On April 15th, 2015, 22 international students from countries including China, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, and Ivory Coast volunteered at the Tacos 4 Life Mobilepack. Tacos 4 Life is a local restaurant that donates a meal each time a meal is purchased at their restaurant. At the Mobilepack, international students, alongside Conway community members, packed over 77,000 meals that will be donated to orphanages in Zambia. The Mobilepack volunteer activity was a part of the International Engagement Bears Without Borders initiative promoting one volunteer activity each month that offers international students the opportunity to give back to the Conway community.
On Thursday, April 9th International Engagement held a College Symposium as part of the Leaders of the World Conference. Each college at UCA was represented at the symposium as well as departments including Student Government Association, Honor’s College, Athletics, and the Intensive English Program. Each International Student Organization was invited to showcase their organization and discuss their presence at UCA. Japanese Club, Korean Club, Kazakh Club, African Student Association, UCA Ivorian Association, Chinese Students and Scholars, and the Indian Student Association were all represented. While offering the Leaders of the World Conference Attendees a snapshot of UCA and its offerings at the symposium, our International Student Organization leaders had the opportunity to meet and share with conference attendees from over 10 nations.
UCA International Engagement partnered with the UCA Ivorian Association for our March volunteer activity. Fifteen UCA Ivorian students went to local organization and dyed Easter eggs with children. The students also put on an Easter Egg hunt for the children. The volunteer activity was part of our monthly Bears Without Borders initiative allowing international students at UCA to give back to the Conway community.
Saturday, February 7th, 22 international students from countries including Japan, China, Niger, and Ivory Coast volunteered at Adopt A Block. Adopt A Block is a community initiative started by the Arkansas Dream Center to visit the same neighborhood in Conway once a month for the purpose of building relationships. The students spent the afternoon playing games, doing crafts, and coloring with children at the Faulkner County Library – the location for this week’s Adopt A Block. The international students that went were excited to give back to the Conway community that has welcomed and embraced them during their time at UCA! This volunteer activity was part of the monthly volunteer program that International Engagement promotes – Bears Without Borders.
Sinaly Karamoko coloring with one of the children that attended Adopt a Block
International Education Week was a great success this year, with daily events and cultural activities, this was our biggest International Education Week. The following is a summary of just a few of the exciting activities held on campus. For more details and photos, please click here.
With over 70 international students representing over 25 different countries, UCA’s World Fest was a fantastic success. Cultures from around the globe as well as UCA departments and study abroad presented at over 50 tables with food samples, traditional clothing, games, music, and more. The highlight of the event was an ethic clothing and dance show, held at the UCA amphitheater.
World Cup Soccer Tournament
The tournament with eight teams made up of international and domestic students played a single elimination tournament with one of the teams representing the nations of Africa winning the championship.
“Taste of Africa”
The newly formed UCA African Student Association supported the “Taste of Africa” event with presentations, a fashion show, a dance show, and African food. Held in the McCastlain Ballroom, the event was filled with students, faculty, staff, and families.
Organized on the UCA campus and hosted by the Indian community in Conway and Little Rock was attended by nearly 200 people. The program featured performances from UCA students and included songs, cultural and Bollywood dances, a traditional fashion show and other varied performances. The event ended with delicious Indian cuisine and Dandiya.
International Engagement invited the International Friendship Outreach (IFO) community and all international students to share in a traditional Thanksgiving meal. More than 20 American host families brought traditional American dishes to share with the international students and community at UCA.
During the week of November 1st, two representatives from the University of Central Arkansas Office of International Engagement presented at the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA) regional conference in Fort Worth.
International Student Services Coordinator, Casey Jackson-Aceituno participated in the Poster Fair at the NAFSA Region III Conference on Thursday, November 4th. Titled University of Central Arkansas Pre-Arrival: From Admit to Orientation, Casey’s poster exhibited various strategies that International Engagement is utilizing to increase the percentage of admitted students that enroll at UCA. The strategies include interactive emails, social media communication, and coordinated arrival.
International Student and Scholar Services Project Manager, Ron Hudson co-presented in a presentation entitled, “Circle Your Wagons,” he collaborated with Julia Bay (University of Central Oklahoma) and Jose Martinez and Sheena Connell (University of the Incarnate Word) to cover important contacts and resources available to international student advisors that influence daily policy and practice. This interactive session identified how to access regulatory information from the agencies within the Departments of State and Homeland Security.