There are many departments at SJU which assist students with academic concerns, including the Freshman Center, Career Service Center, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA). This week on Oct. 17, Rosa Yen, the Director of International Student Services and Multicultural Affairs, held an International Student Academic Advising Session in Mar 314. It is part of Project AIM, an international student peer mentoring program opened to all freshmen and sophomores. Just like the meaning of its name, the program aims to support students’ success in all aspects, such as high academic achievement, transition and life adjustment in the United States. The program also provides career development through a social and intellectual learning environment outside of the classroom.
The information session started with an icebreaker where students played the Cultural Diversity Bingo game. Some questions on the Bingo sheet were to “find someone who has traveled to the same places as you,” “draw someone’s portrait on the back of this bingo card,” and “find someone with the same amount of siblings like you and share a family story with them.” The goal was to quickly connect students with diverse backgrounds and provide an open, free, and protected space for future discussions. Soon, the students were given ten minutes to write down any questions they had. Following this was an academic panel. Five mentors coming from different colleges and have different majors were the main speakers. Here are some of the conversations:
Question from Student A: “How can I change my major and how many courses can transfer?”
Answer from David Chiemeka Uwakwe (Chemistry major, St. John’s College): “I would first talk to your deans and advisors personally since they can give you the best guidance. They can guide you through UIS internal transfer portal and DegreeWorks where you can know how many credits you need to have if you transfer and your current status .”
Question from Student B: “How many times can I meet with my advisor?”
Answer from Joyce Yu (Biomedical Science major, CPHS): “Usually each semester your counselor or advisor will send you an email either to catch up with you and learn about your current status or help you with registration. Please don’t hesitate to contact them and set appointments for as many times as you needed, they are always there to help. But if you have some general questions you can first reach out to friends and professors, and turn to advisors if they can’t fully answer your questions.”
Question from Student C: “Are business majors competitive, should I try?”
Answer from Suprad Kafle (Accounting major, Tobin School of Business): “All majors aren’t easy, but if you have a passion then go for it! It’s definitely competitive because of the academic difficulty, as well as the limiting internship and job positions but it’ s durable and I really enjoy the process of learning!”
In the end, Yen thanked everyone and said “It’s so great to see almost all of you here. Thank you all for making the Project AIM family such a warm and beautiful one! I am very glad that your questions can be solved and that you are acknowledged with more resources open to you on campus!”.