International Student Services not only offers a range of assistance to foreign students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but it also works to bring international and American students together through a variety of programs, says director Laurie Cox.
The BRIDGE Program, for instance, is designed to help new international students connect with U.S. students. And through the International Reach program, international students give short presentations about their home countries and culture at such venues as elementary schools and local senior centers.
“In that way, we’re not just internationalizing the campus, but the community as well,” says Cox.
In the years to come, Gilles Bousquet, UW-Madison’s dean of the Division of International Studies, says the university hopes to do even more to “connect our international students to the campus at multiple levels, through learning communities, service learning, community events and more opportunities where they share with us their unique insight on the region they come from and their perspectives on the U.S.”
And even after these international students graduate and often return home, Paula Bonner — the president and CEO of the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) — says it’s impossible to discount the value of having Badgers in nearly every corner of the globe.
“Every time a Wisconsin governor — whether it be Tommy Thompson or Jim Doyle — has done a trade mission to Beijing or Shanghai, we do what we can to facilitate appointments and connections through our alumni,” says Bonner, who has been with the alumni association for 20 years. “Those alumni linkages have done a lot to facilitate those economic relationships with these countries.”
In an effort to highlight some of the connections between UW-Madison and Badgers around the globe, WAA, and the Division of International Studies combined to launch an online newsletter titled “Wisconsin World View.”