The University of Arkansas Fort Smith hosted an International Students’ Open House last month, inviting exchange students from regional high schools to visit the UAFS campus and engage with the university’s international relations department and international students.
The 28 high school students who attended the Feb. 7 event represented home countries across the globe, including Italy, Brazil, Ukraine, Mexico, Spain, Korea, Cambodia, and Vietnam, among others.
The UAFS Office of International Relations has begun expanding its outreach into the community this year, in support of a strategic initiative launched by interim chancellor Dr. Edward Serna, to broaden the various populations UAFS is able to serve in the community.
“The city of Fort Smith has a rich history of cultural diversity, and we are proud to embrace area international students as an extension of our own international program, to show them the opportunities and amenities that exist on our campus,” said Serna.
In addition to building relationships with UAFS students who are continuing their education abroad, the open house also aimed to assist the high school students in understanding the dynamics of entering post-secondary schools in the U.S.A.
“The world’s education systems differ greatly from region to region and even more so at the individual country level,” explained Nicolas Patillo, UAFS director of international relations.
“Hosting these students on campus helps to not only open the eyes of the visiting students to possibilities beyond the chalkboard and their limited time here through their exchange programs, but it helps to deepen our relationships with the surrounding high schools and community,” continued Patillo.
“Furthermore, and just as importantly, it helps to create more meaningful cross-cultural experiences for our domestic student population.”
The event also helped students form a basis of comparison in the cost of higher education internationals and across the United States.
“I knew that not only would it give them an accurate view of a quality local American university, but that this event would also open their eyes to the possibility of continuing to further their education in our beautiful area,” said Eileen Parham, who accompanied a group from Alma High School.
“I always have students ask for information about attending college in the United States,” added JoLynn Dixon whose students visited UAFS from Greenwood High School. “It was great to have an opportunity to give them first-hand knowledge from the university itself. Not only did the students get needed info, but so did I. It’s great to know I have a resource to help my future exchange students.”
For more information on the Office of International Relations at UAFS, visit: https://international.uafs.edu