West Virginia University students may want to brush up on theirholasandbonjoursbecause residence life is going global this fall.

The Spruce House at 544 Spruce St. is being transformed into WVU s new International House, a multicultural community for 37 undergraduate students17 females and 20 malesfrom around the world.

Conveniently located near the Downtown Campus, the facility is within easy walking distance from major classroom buildings and the Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system, said Associate Dean Peter Li, who oversees the Office of International Students&Scholars.

International House has a dormitory-style set-up with two or three people per room, a combination of twin and bunk beds and community bathrooms. There will be one floor for males and one floor for femalesplus a lounge large enough for hall activities.

Like traditional residence halls, the International House will have resident assistants and many of the same amenities, including a dining area where students can prepare group meals featuring traditional cuisine from their homelands.

Hopefully, through living and learning together, both groups (American and international) can learn about each others cultures and languages,Li said,and they can learn a little bit more about themselves and become better people.

Residents will be a mix of international and domestic students with preference given to first-time freshmen. Other than having a 2.5 grade point average, Li said the only requirement is that students must be willing to immerse themselves in academic, social and service programs with strong international themes.

He noted that students with interests in international studies, foreign languages, history, journalism and political science may benefit the most from this type of cross-cultural community living.

Beyond just living together, well set up programs conducive to an international theme whether its bringing in international food, offering lectures or organizing trips,Li said.With this type of opportunity, I dont want anyone to miss out. I truly want students to learn from each other.

Sara Schultz, a resident assistant and graduate student from Morgantown, is excited about making friends with people from other countries.

I think having an International House is a great idea,she said.It gives students the opportunity to form a close-knit family and provides them with a home away from home.

The International Houses small size means students will have the opportunity to get to know each other on a first-name basis.

A student wont be just another face in a residence hall, but a person everyone living in the house will get to know,she said.Residents will be able to experience each others cultures. Students will be exposed to a variety of different traditions, holidays, customs and foods.

Schultz looks forward to implementing many of her programming ideas, which include listening to international music, organizing slide shows, hosting guest speakers, viewing foreign films, planning foreign language conversation tables and watching international sporting events.

More on the Net:http://www.wvu.edu/~InternationalHouse/

International programs, organizations at WVU *

  • The WVU *Office of International Students and Scholars in Elizabeth Moore Hall is a link to students and scholars from more than 90 countries. OISS offers various cross-cultural programs and activities throughout the year to help international students adjust to their new surroundings and enhance their learning experience. On the Net:http://www.wvu.edu/~oiss/
  • Every year, hundreds of new international students arrive at WVU . For students who are interested, the University will try to pair them with a local individual or family with common interests. Host families offer hospitality and an understanding of life in West Virginia. The Friends of International Students Program does not involve providing housing. Activities may include simple, informal meals, visits to local places of interest or just watching a favorite television show together. On the Net:http://www.wvu.edu/~oiss/fis/index.htm
  • The Office of International Programs promotes the globalization of curriculum through study abroad programs and collaborative international research. In support of this mission, OIP coordinates trips overseas, works with WVU faculty in the development of study abroad courses, facilitates Global Educational Opportunities grants and participates in international activities. On the Net:http://www.wvu.edu/~intlprog/
  • OIP and the Office of Service Learning Programs recently partnered with Amizade, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organization, to offer WVU students international service-learning opportunities . Courses includeGlobalization: The Navajo Nation Case Study,led by Dr. Ginny Majewski, associate professor and chair of the Division of Social Work; andConflict Resolution in Northern Ireland,taught by Dr. Neal Newfield, associate professor of social work. To register online, go tohttp://www.amizade.org. For more information, contact Dan Weiner, International Programs director, at 304-293-6955 or Daniel.Weiner@mail.wvu.edu .
  • Women Across Cultures is a group open to everyone. The organization offers activities designed to help people learn about life in the United States and other parts of the world and gives them the opportunity to interact with and learn from others. The group offers a cooperative babysitting service for memberschildren while they attend the meetings. More info:http://www.wvu.edu/~oiss/wac.htm
  • One of the ways students can get involved in WVU s global community is by joining one of the Universitys 300 diverse student clubs and organizations . Of these, there are nearly 20 cultural and international groups. The African, Brazilian, Chinese, Malaysian, Muslim and Pakistani associations are just a sampling. To learn more, go to the Student Organization Services Web site athttp://www.wvu.edu/~sos/.
  • The International Student Organization represents cultures from five continents. ISO sponsors campus and community activities, including an annual international festival and dinner, school presentations, trips and social events. The groups goal is to promote understanding and diversity among all cultures. More info:http://www.wvu.edu/~iso/