The University of Iowa

UI pre-departure orientations for incoming freshmen a success in China

July 22nd, 2015

Joan Kjaer kicks off the Beijing pre-departure orientation presentations

More than 400 incoming freshmen, their parents, and alumni joined UI faculty and staff in early July for pre-departure orientation sessions in Beijing and Shanghai, China. This was the third year of on-site orientation sessions and the largest group of attendees to date. 

The UI was represented by Ken Brown, associate dean of the Tippie College of Business, and four staff members from International Programs: Joan Kjaer, Suyun Ma, Michael Bortscheller, and Shuhui Lin.

Chinese students make up the largest proportion of the international student population at the UI.  In academic year 2014-2015, 2,673 of 4360 international students were from the PRC, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The opportunity to meet UI representatives in person,  hear a thorough orientation presentation, and ask questions on everything from how to pay a student’s U bill to whether there are Asian markets in town is a real comfort to students and parents alike, and the feedback was universally positive. 

Of particular interest were the student panels, consisting of current UI students and recent grads. The panelists, all Chinese or fluent in Mandarin, spoke at length about their experiences on the UI campus, what life is like in a small Midwestern town, and the differences between study and classroom behavior in the U.S. and in China. 

UI alumni help register incoming freshmen in Shanghai

UI alumni now living in China also attended the receptions and orientations, mixing with the soon-to-be Hawkeyes and reminiscing about their years on campus.  Many of the alumni in attendance were campus leaders while at the UI and they expressed intense interest in maintaining connections with their Alma Mater and in building and enhancing alumni relationships that can last a lifetime.

With hundreds of Chinese graduates emerging from the UI every year and many of them moving back home, the opportunities appear to be limitless.  Young alumni leaders have already stepped forward to begin laying the groundwork for what we hope will become active Chinese alumni groups.

Although it’s impossible to offer the personal, on-site pre-departure orientations in all international locations from which the UI draws students, similar information can be found in the International Student and Scholar Services section of the International Programs website.