Partner Feature: Central Washington University

This month we are pleased to highlight our host partner, Central Washington University (CWU)! Rachel Gordon, International Partnerships Manager for the Office of International Studies & Programs at CWU, introduces herself and shares more about the exciting opportunities and programs available to international students at CWU.


Rachel Gordon
International Partnerships Manager at Central Washington University

How long have you been working at CWU? What is your role?

I have worked at CWU since 2008 and am currently the International Partnerships Manager.  I’m also a CWU alumna and worked on campus with international students during my undergraduate studies.

What does your orientation for international students involve?

Orientation for international students at CWU is a very comprehensive program that prepares students for academic and student life in Ellensburg, Washington.  We include the following:

  • A formal Welcome to Campus by our Dean and introductions of our professional and student staff;
  • A session led by our SEVIS Coordinator to go over immigration topics/questions;
  • A session on medical care & insurance in the U.S., including an overview of the student health services provided on campus such as the campus medical and counseling services and local mental health resources;
  • A Resource Fair during lunch where students can interact with various campus departments, including Career Services, Library, Learning Support Services, Student Rights & Responsibilities, Campus Safety/CWU Police, SLICE (Student Leadership, Involvement, and Cultural Engagement), Student Clubs, etc.;
  • A tour of both the Ellensburg campus and downtown Ellensburg, led by Peer Mentors; and
  • A session on Academic Survival tips, which includes group academic advising, led by the International Student Advisor.


Can you briefly describe what extracurricular activities are available for students? Anything specifically designed with international students in mind?

CWU has a dedicated Program Coordinator within the Office of International Studies and Programs who plans engaging activities and outings intended to connect international students with the greater CWU student population and local communities. In addition to this, another staff member within our office stands as the advisor for the international club on campus, which welcomes both international and domestic students as members.  Our office also hosts vibrant welcome dinners, graduation celebrations, holiday gatherings, International Cafes, and coordinates with departments across campus to host programs such as Cultural Conversations.

Global UGRADs with Rachel Gordon at CWU Campus event

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

My personal favorite place on the CWU campus is the Japanese Garden.  The beauty and tranquility of the garden leaves me refreshed and rejuvenated.  Also, I studied the Japanese language and lived and worked in Japan for a few years when I was younger, and visiting the garden brings back fond memories.

Please share a positive takeaway or memorable story from your work with Global UGRADs.

Being involved with and hosting Global UGRAD students at CWU is so rewarding.  I have been working with Global UGRAD students since 2018.  The positive energy, cultural diversity, and enthusiasm they bring to campus is unmatched.  While they have great stories to tell about their studies, experiences on campus, and memories made in Ellensburg, we at CWU all benefit immensely from their time on campus.  I have personally enjoyed getting to know these students through dinners at my home, game nights, and shared interests. My children even keep in touch with a few of them via social media – which I love as getting to know them has fueled their growing interest in global issues, cultures, and travel.

Global UGRADs at Rachel’s house for dinner
Global UGRADs attending an event at CWU with Rachel Gordon