Host Partner Feature: Boise State University

This month, World Learning is excited to highlight long-time host partner Boise State University. Boise State hosted three Global UGRAD students in the Fall 2023 semester and is home to three more UGRADs this spring. Tim Randall, Coordinator for International Student Services, shared with World Learning how Boise State supports international students and helps Global UGRAD students find meaningful connections in the Boise community.

Tim Randall, International Student Services Coordinator

How long have you been working at Boise State University and what is your role?

I’ve had the pleasure of being part of Boise State University for two years now. As the International Student Services Coordinator, my job is to create programming designed to foster a supportive and connected environment for our international students. This involves everything from administrative tasks to ensuring that students feel welcomed and integrated into our university community. I also spearhead the support services for incoming exchange students.

What does your orientation for international students involve?

Our orientation program is based on the concept of “Connect,” and is intentionally designed to create meaningful connections between international students and vital members of our university community, including peers, faculty, and staff. It features a mix of informative sessions covering crucial topics like immigration, cultural adaptation, and campus involvement. It also includes interactive team-building activities to foster community and collegiality among students.

Tim Randall (middle) with students from Fall 2023, Mouad Bouchhra (Morocco, left) and Olimakhon Ergasheva (Uzbekistan, right)

Can you briefly describe a handful of campus clubs, events, and/or programs that are designed with international students in mind?

With over 270 clubs at Boise State, international students have plenty of options for finding their own space and community on campus. Popular clubs include the International Student Association, which hosts the annual International Food, Song, and Dance Festival. There are numerous country-specific clubs, academic-based clubs, and the Black Student Association. The Center for Global Engagement, through its International Student and Scholar Services division, curates special programs that not only introduce students to Idaho’s beautiful landscapes but also provide practical support through academic and career workshops. A new and exciting addition is our new Student Peer Mentor program, aimed at helping newcomers navigate their initial semester at Boise State.

The campus of Boise State, with hot air balloons flying nearby

What sets Boise State apart from other U.S. universities?

Boise State stands out not just for its beautiful downtown location and proximity to nature but for the sense of belonging it fosters among its students. Our welcoming community puts students – and their campus experience – at the center of our University culture. We encourage students to contribute to what our university calls “Blue Turf Thinking” and become trailblazers through innovation and creativity.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

The Student Union Building (SUB) is my top pick on campus. It’s the perfect mix of everything. Here, you can grab a bite to eat, shop in the bookstore, find a quiet study spot, enjoy a game of bowling, or just admire views from the windows.

International students at Boise State University

What is a positive takeaway or memorable story you can share from your work with Global UGRADs?

Witnessing the journey of a student from Uzbekistan as her advisor at Boise State was a deeply rewarding experience. Her arrival started with the airline losing her luggage, yet her response showcased remarkable resilience and positivity. This initial adversity did little to hinder her spirit. Instead, it became the first step in a semester-long transformative journey. She immersed herself in campus life with enthusiasm, engaged in various clubs, and seized academic opportunities with vigor. These pursuits led her to participate in Boise State Cybersecurity pitch competitions.

Her ability to adapt and thrive turned her Boise State experience into a profound journey of personal and academic development. The highlight came when she spoke at our international graduation celebration, where she coined a quote I repeat to this day: “The more I travel, the more I love Boise and Boise State. It’s my home.” Watching her grow, connect, and embrace Boise State as her new home was an incredibly gratifying part of my role as an advisor.