California Lutheran University is home to around 600 international students from 45 to 50 different countries, according to the Assistant Director of Multicultural Programs and International Student Services, Linda Boberg. In efforts to prepare and help international students feel more welcomed here on campus and in the country, CLU offers different resources such as informational seminars, peer mentors and various workshops.
Located inside of Student Union is the Multicultural Programs and International Student Services office where all international students are welcome to ask for help or get answers to any questions they may have.
“Our doors are always open. I am the walk-in counselor, that’s what they call me. Come in any time, any problems, whatever you have. That’s my job, that’s the part I love,” Boberg said.
Through informational seminars, students are made aware of different rules and laws, who to call in case of an emergency, personal matters, etc.
“I think CLU did a really great job at welcoming me. The information seminar is a full day where they go through everything you need to know like, literally everything. How it is to go to school in America. How it is to live in the dorms. How it is to be involved in clubs and everything like that so it was [really] helpful and everyone was really nice,” said Ellen Franck, an international student from Sweden.
Students are also provided with a peer mentor. International students are assigned someone in their age group to help them with whatever problems they may have, as well as a person who is trained in this field to develop a relationship or bond.
“Peer mentors are trained to help international students. Some of the peer mentors are international students. They had to have been here a year,” Boberg said.
Peer mentors are here on campus to help students from a students’ perspective.
“We explain to them how the United States works and then after that try to help them with whatever they need. Kind of be that person that they don’t have,” said Gabby Romero, peer mentor and international student from Venezuela.
Because Romero is an international student, she feels she can relate to the students and use her experiences to help her fellow students. As a peer mentor, Romero is always willing to help the students she is mentoring. She even helps and keeps in touch with her past students.
“It’s kind of cool, now they are not only my mentees, they are my friends. I like that they can always just come talk to me and I can just listen. I reach out to my students, but they are always welcome to come and talk to me,” Romero said.
Aside from familiarizing students with American and CLU-specific customs, international students are encouraged to participate in workshops.
“I’ve been to other colleges here in America and they’re not as good or helpful as the CLU International Service Center. They also have a lot of good information to offer international students and workshops and I would […] give the advice to international students to go to these workshops because you learn a lot about the immigration system here in America and how to be successful here in school, then eventually get an internship and kind of get work experience as well,” Franck said.
Boberg said that International Student Services offer immigration workshops where an attorney comes and talks about legal matters. The next immigration workshop will be held Oct. 4 and will address marijuana issues here in California. There is also a check-in held where students come, check in and are given snacks such as, chips, popsicles or cupcakes.
A new workshop Cal Lutheran is offering this year is called CLUES.
“CLUES is a series of workshops informing students of what we might have touched base on, but we didn’t have time to go into much detail with a guest speaker,” Boberg said.
CLUES will be held on Thursdays at 3-3:45 p.m. in Room 14 in the Student Union. More information can be found on the CLU website under International Student Service Workshops.
“We try to encourage them to participate in all the stuff at CLU because we find that the students who go and participate or try to participate, they’re going to be so much more successful,” Boberg said.
More information can be found through the Cal Lutheran website or in the Multicultural Programs and International Student Service office.