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Serving International Graduate Students on Campus and Abroad

January 31, 2018

Members of the International Graduate Student Association in front of the biowall prior to their Thanksgiving dinner.

Members of the International Graduate Student Association in front of the biowall before their Thanksgiving dinner.

The International Graduate Student Association (IGSA), a daughter organization of the Graduate Student Association (GSA), had a busy fall quarter welcoming new international graduate students to Drexel University and helping them acclimate to campus and community life.

Before traveling to Drexel, international students participated in a webinar series hosted by the IGSA over the summer to address frequently asked questions like, “What do I need to bring?,” “Where can I live?,” “What is the climate like?” and “How are classes?” The webinar series is an opportunity for incoming international students to connect with current international students, reducing some of the initial culture shock and preparing them for life and education in America.

When students arrived in Philadelphia in September, members of the IGSA and daughter organizations like PRAGATHI (the Indian Graduate Student Association) welcomed new students at Philadelphia International Airport. Some current students offered temporary housing accommodations until new students could secure housing on campus. During Welcome Week, the IGSA hosted a shopping trip to help students purchase school supplies, electronics, home furnishings and other everyday items.

The IGSA hosted their annual Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 21. This year, students enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, a trivia game show, and a food and clothing drive for a local charity. For many, it was their first time celebrating the American holiday. After dinner, many students ventured out to experience Black Friday shopping during the late night and early morning hours. The IGSA also hosted a holiday dinner at New Delhi Restaurant in University City on Dec. 28 to connect students who were unable to travel home during the long winter break.

In addition to welcoming students to campus, the IGSA hosts regular workshops throughout the year on topics such as professional development, financial management, career development, technology and more.

This spring, several members of the IGSA will participate in the Eagles Autism Challenge on May 19.  The cause raises funds for innovative research and programs to help unlock the mystery of autism. The IGSA will also host a Festival of Nations highlighting our students’ cultures, fashion and talent.

The IGSA was recognized at last May’s Graduate Student Day for being the most collaborative graduate student organization on campus because they partner with over 10 active undergraduate and graduate student organizations annually for their events.

While the IGSA focuses on the international graduate students on campus, their events are open to all. The organization strives to create a sense of community and inclusion on campus and celebrate the diverse backgrounds and cultures of Drexel students.

This article was contributed by Sandra Golis.