Thursday September 8, 2016

Cross Cultural Connections: An intentional intercultural community for first-year students.

The start of a new academic year has a heightened sense of energy and spirit on campus.  Students return from break and bring back stories about their summer whether they traveled, worked or simply relaxed with family and friends.  Incoming first year students come to us in anticipation, some with excitement but also a curiosity about the new experiences and people they will soon encounter. 

At UD we host a number of initiatives and programs that support the transition of our students into campus-life while also providing them with a cohort of peers to connect with in an intentional way.  The Cross Cultural Connections Program, also known as CCC, successfully started its second year.  A collaboration between Housing and Residence Life (HRL) and the Center for International Programs (CIP), the CCC brings international and U.S. students together as a community to engage in a series of structured relationship-building and intercultural activities prior to the start of the year.  The CCC students live together on the same floor and with the support of their RA’s have opportunities to take part in a number of intentional programming and activities.  This year’s cohort includes 45 students.

One unique aspect of the CCC is to see the sense of community the residents create early in the year.  After arriving to campus, CCC students had the opportunity to complete a campus scavenger hunt, meet CCC graduates, learn about living in an intercultural community, and for some, tried Chipotle and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for the first time.  The peer-to-peer model is also unique.  Activities throughout orientation are facilitated with the assistance of student leaders from HRL and CIP and have undergone a one-day training in order to help implement the program.

Amberly Santana, Intercultural Initiatives GA, has oversight of a number of aspects of the program.  When asked about her thoughts on the CCC program, she commented, “It is a small but great way to live out our university values of community and inclusivity by serving as a starting point for bridging relationships across diverse people.  I am honored to be a part of this unique community and eager to watch as the CCC residents grow in empathy and friendship this year.”

To learn more about programs hosted in partnership or by the Center for International Programs, visit us here.

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