The University of Iowa

In the news: Friends Without Borders reaches for expansion

September 4th, 2018

International Services assistant Enkhtaivan Mills sits for a portrait at the International Student and Scholar Services office in the Old Capitol Center on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018. Mills works with the Friends Without Borders program at the University of Iowa.

By Elizabeth Starr, The Daily Iowan

The University of Iowa Friends Without Borders, which began in 2014, would like to mix things up in the new academic year.

“In the past, we could connect students with each other before they arrived on campus,” said Taivna Mills, the director of the program. “[Students could] connect through social media or email, [or they could be] pen pals.”

During the 2017-18 school year, she said, the program was unable to connect students early, so the students met for the first time at the kickoff event this fall.

Program officials hope to continue early pairing so students can have a chance to connect before the start of the semester.

“[This allows the students to] make friendships, learn from each other, [develop] cultural understanding, and [that leads to a] more integrated campus and diversifies student learning,” Mills said.