World Learning is honored to partner with the University of Maine (UMaine) this semester. There are currently three Global UGRAD students attending the University of Maine. Orlina Boteva was kind enough to answer some of our questions about the university.
How long have you been working at the University of Maine?
What is your role?
I am the director of the Office of International Programs since 2016, but I started as the study abroad advisor and love advising incoming and outgoing students.
What does your orientation for international students involve?
We offer a three-day orientation which includes a “Meet and Greet” social the very first evening, a shopping trip with a yellow school bus (always a fun adventure for those to try for the first time), sessions on immigration, adjusting to U.S. culture, campus resources and services, health and safety, and success in the U.S. classroom. We also offer a canoeing experience on the Stillwater River during the Fall orientation and this past orientation we offered a Planetarium show followed by a group dinner. Students also attend orientation events offered by Residential Life and Student Involvement over the weekend and during the first week of classes.
Can you briefly describe a handful of campus clubs, events, and/or programs that are designed with international students in mind?
At UMaine, we have close to 200 clubs, but some of the ones that UGRAD students become involved with are the International Student Association and other cultural clubs, Sustainability Club, Business School Ambassadors, the soccer club and other athletic clubs.
What sets the University of Maine apart from other U.S. universities?
Our campus is a beautiful campus with many historical buildings situated in the small and quaint town of Orono. The University is on Marsh Island and students have access to water sports on the Stillwater River as well as many trails in the university forest for running, biking, cross-country skiing, and other outdoor sports. We are the proud Black Bears and our men’s hockey team, and women’s basketball team are very well known. Students can go to all games with their student ID cards and learn about the U.S. college sports culture. The state of Maine is famous for its beauty and clean air, and students explore our state parks and green spaces during their time at UMaine. Students get to know their faculty and classmates well and receive a lot of personalized advising and attention.
What is your favorite place on campus and why?
I love the Littelfield Ornamental Trial Garden. It has beautiful landscapes and a pond, and in the spring it’s a bloom of colors. It has a row of lilac trees that go from white to deep violet. During apple blossom time, the Maine crabapple trees smell heavenly. I often spend time reading, walking, or meeting with friends in the garden since my first year at UMaine.
I have very fond memories of Global UGRAD students who have studied at UMaine over the years. I stay in touch with quite a few of them. The students are always so outgoing and eager to learn, try new things, and share their experiences with others. Guzaloy Zakhirova, who was at UMaine as a UGRAD student in 2018, returned to UMaine this year for a graduate program. My greatest joy is to see how alumni of the program continue building upon their experience from the program and learn and grow as individuals in their educational and career paths.