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March 31, 2013

Week One? I thought it was called ‘orientation’..?

This week’s been busy, busy, busy… and Gala “hell week” is only starting today! I’ve got dance practice every day, on top of the second midterms I have to do for some classes. Oh well, I signed up for this.


Now, this week’s Before You Shout for Help post is on Week One! I still remember most of it, so I can answer any specific questions you have. (Disclaimer: No two Week One’s are the same! This is only an overview of mine, as an international entering Fall 2012.)


First of all, international students will be arriving a few days before the domestic students. We had 4 days of ISO (international student orientation), followed by 5 days of “Week One”, Clark’s orientation program. ISO starts with a check-in day, when international students start moving in. You’ll be assigned Peer Adviser (PA), who will help you settle in. You can choose to go on shopping trips on buses that leave from Clark, and have dinner with your family (if they came with you). That night, we had an informal ‘social time’; and thanks to my PA, Danielle, I met Christie – and I don’t know what I’d do without her. :)


The next few days before Week One have international-specific talks and programs designed to help you get acquainted with the differences between your culture and the US. Sprinkled into that schedule are really awesome social events, including a movie night, a roller-skating trip, and a ‘pre-orientation dance’ (which only international, ALANA, and ACE students will get to attend!).


just a glimpse of one of the activities! :D

Then began Week One, with the campus going from some 150 students to over 600. Suddenly there were so many more people we didn’t know, and it was disconcerting until we met up in our 8-10 people PA groups and saw that we weren’t treated as just one of the 600. The programs for Week One included a lot of icebreakers amidst the talks and instructional activities. Often, one talk would be divided into two groups or more, so that we didn’t feel overwhelmed. There were a lot of social activities to go to, where – even I, as an international with a lot of social anxiety who feels like she’s slithering every time she has a conversation with a stranger – got to meet quite a few people.


To keep up with the schedules, we were given a flyer for ISO, and a booklet for Week One. For Week One, during check-in, we were also given a bag of goodies. With those was a ‘Week One survival folder’: student handbook, a campus map (although you get a few more from various places, I think!), flyers for some programs at Clark, and a very handy flyer with a list of restaurants around Clark, including phone numbers, distance, phone, and price range! We also got a pen or three, and never had trouble keeping up with the very active Week One schedule.

I still remember those 9-10 days, and I really believe Clark really sets itself apart from other schools in how well it handles the transition students go through. More to come next week, where I talk about the academic transition! :) Have a great week, everyone – and if you’re in the neighborhood, come see Gala on April 5th!

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