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IA Program Aids Students

For The Heights

Published: Thursday, March 3, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

The International Assistant [IA] Program, which is designed to aid international students in their transition at Boston College, Boston, and life in America, as well as increase international awareness at BC, is now accepting applications.

"The International Assistant Program was established in 1980 in response to the needs of incoming international students," according to the IA Program website.

A committee of 20 members, headed by Adrienne Nussbaum, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars, is in charge of this year's selection process.

Niamh McCarthy, A&S '13, who is helping with the selections, said the program usually accepts between 70 and 80 people.

"The only prerequisites to apply are availability related," McCarthy said. "All applicants must be available during the international orientation at the end of August."

Sean He, an international assistant and A&S '13, looks for multiple qualities in an international assistant.

"I think the most important quality for an IA is the willingness to learn," He said. "Personally, I feel that the international students bring a lot of culture and diversity to BC, and my interest in this is what made me want to become an IA. Of course, it's also important to be friendly, mature and committed."

"This has been my first year in the International Assistant Program and it has been amazing," he said. "I have met so many people from around the world who I have learned a lot from. I have also met a lot of other BC students who are IAs that have made a lasting impact on my sophomore year."

Some of the roles of IAs include supporting the international students, acting as a resource, and sharing their culture. The IAs also play a major role in the three-day international student orientation which takes place just prior to the freshman and transfer student orientations, according to the Website.

He said that both the IAs and international students benefit from the opportunity. "Both IAs and international students are rewarded with the opportunity to meet and build lasting relationships with amazing people from all over the world," he said. "The program also gives BC students an opportunity to take a leadership role, while offering international students guidance in their transition with American university life."

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