By Trang Nguyen ‘21, International Orientation Assistant
Being inspired from my International Orientation Assistants (IOAs) in International Orientation (IO)’17, I applied to be an IOA for the program this year. After going through the process, I can say that being an IOA was undoubtedly one of the most amazing experiences I have had at Bucknell.
Becoming an IOA for the first time, I was both excited and anxious, as I was not sure if I would be able to do my job well. Therefore, I decided to set a goal for myself for the orientation; to help the first-year international students during and also after IO as much as possible.
We started with a weeklong training just with the leaders for the orientation. During the training, I had amazing opportunities to get to know many wonderful people whom I had met before but didn’t know well. Together, we painted beautiful door decks for the new students, went for ropes course at Cowan and supported each other, stayed awake till 3AM to welcome the students with a surprising amount of energy, and much more. All these activities created a strong bond among all of us. This also helped me to be more active and open, which I found hard to do during my first year.
During IO, things got challenging as IOAs had to take care of their groups. However, having a chance to lead a group, to help them with the problems they had when coming to a new place for the first time, to see them getting closer to other friends and be more open, it was really rewarding. Moreover, being an IOA, it was not only playful, but it also included the responsibility to be helpful, open to talk and understand more about the students and their perspectives. All in all, the amazing experience has helped me grow and be confident in myself.
Being away from home and also an international student at such an unfamiliar place is hard. However, I would say IO has made it much easier and more beautiful.