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International freshmen experience American culture

Charlie Ducey | Thursday, August 29, 2013

Notre Dame’s newest freshman class contains 125 international students, representing 70 different countries. Last week, all of these students participated in International Student Orientation, which aimed to help foreign students adjust to an American university.  

McKenna Pencak, assistant director of communications and outreach, said the orientation process for international students differs from the traditional freshman orientation. International Student Orientation, which took place from Aug. 20 to 21 in the Jordan Hall of Science, is as much about America as it is about Notre Dame, she said. 

“International Student Orientation provides an opportunity for new international students to learn about Notre Dame’s campus and resources as well as American culture,” Pencak said.

In the spirit of America and Notre Dame’s shared passion for football, the Football 101 workshop was a highlight of the program, Pencak said. 

“Football 101 [was] presented by ND’s football announcer Mike Collins and [helped] the new international students learn the basics of football just in time for the first home game,” Pencak said. 

Freshman Fernando Huyke of Puerto Rico said his experience with the 2013 International Orientation was slightly different because of his background. 

“It was a different experience because many students were legit international, while I am a resident of a U.S. territory,” Huyke said.

He said the activities were very informative, even though it wasn’t his first exposure to American culture. 

“I enjoyed the lecture on the American classroom and the crossing cultures chat,” he said. “Sometimes Americans don’t understand where you’re from. You have to find a system to stay focused.”

In comparison to his dorm’s Frosh-O, Huyke said his residence hall orientation was more enjoyable. 

“Stanford Hall has a lot of really nice guys. They don’t care about what you are,” he said. “The activities were really fun. It made me feel as part of a family.”