This month, World Learning is proud to feature Bridgewater State University (BSU). Jennifer Currie serves as the Director of International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) and shares some insight into the international student experience.
How long have you been working at Bridgewater State University? What is your role?
I have worked at Bridgewater State University for ten years and have been in the field of international education professionally since 2004. My current role at BSU is the Director of International Student & Scholar Services.
What does your orientation for international students involve?
We provide a robust week-long orientation program for all incoming international students here at BSU. The programming involves collaboration with all key academic and student life constituencies to provide students an in-depth understanding of BSU resources, transition to U.S. culture and U.S. life.
Can you briefly describe a handful of campus clubs, events, and/or programs that are designed with international students in mind?
Here at BSU, ISSS advises the International Culture Club. This is a student-run organization that is open to all students (international and domestic) and the mission of the club is to share and celebrate global cultures through interactive learning opportunities. ISSS also hosts a variety of on- and off-campus programming to assist in the transition to U.S. culture/life as well as to educate the BSU community on the diversity of our international student population.
What sets the BSU apart from other U.S. universities?
BSU is a place that cares deeply about the student experience, and we care deeply about our international students. We value the rich diversity and unique perspectives that international students bring the campus and want them to learn all they can about the U.S. culture they have chosen to live and learn in. ISSS also provides “wrap-around” services for our international students; from airport pickup and drop off, a robust orientation program, additional programming throughout the semester, as well as individualized advising for each student while they are here.
What is your favorite place on campus and why?
One of my favorite places on campus is our Sakie Nyanquoi Global Learning Lab. It’s a space in our Minnock Institute that is dedicated to international students, where they can study, connect with friends, or just be in a quiet safe space. It’s really whatever the user needs! Another favorite place of mine is the Bear’s Den. It’s one of our many on-campus dining facilities, and it really highlights the liveliness and connectivity of our campus. Plus, there’s always something good to eat there!
Please share a positive takeaway or memorable story from your work with Global UGRADs.
I have had wonderful experiences with the Global UGRAD students. Our four students who were here in the Spring of 2022 completely integrated into the BSU community and found many friends with the other international students. I think one of my favorite memories is from our Farewell Celebration when one of our Global UGRAD students helped make a TikTok and was dancing with several of our other international students. It was such a fun event, where I really got to see the close relationships that they built with each other and with the U.S. culture.