International R/O Acclimates StudentsBy Jennifer Lane
Over eighty new international students, representing 47 countries, yesterday completed the three-day International Residence and Orientation program. The freshmen participated in tours of Boston and Cambridge, listened to presentations about MIT and immigration issues, and socialized at dinners and dance mixes.
Although International R/Ois only recommended and not mandatory, the majority of international students participate, said John M. de Guzmán '97, Institute R/O publicity and personnel manager overseeing the international program. Eighty to ninety percent of the international freshmen participated in R/Othis year, said Kelly K. Chan '98, a member of the International R/O committee.
Program eases Śculture shock'
The first three days before formal R/O allow international students to become acclimated to American culture. "It's a real culture shock for some freshmen," de Guzmán said.
"Everything went really well this year," de Guzmán said. The freshmen enjoyed meeting each other and being introduced to American and MIT culture, he said.
International students really enjoyed "talking to upper class international students, especially sophomores," said Chris Gil '99, an international freshman from Spain. Students had the opportunity to do this during the dance mix party held in Baker House Dining Hall on Tuesday night.
Other popular R/O events were tours of Boston, including a harbor cruise and tour of Faneuil Hall, and the many free food events like restaurant tours and organized breakfasts and dinners, said freshmen Michel Alslam '99, from Kuwait, and Carlos Tapia '99, from Mexico.
One of the most useful services provided to students during R/O is offered by the International Students Office, de Guzmán said. International students may bring their immigration or visa papers to the ISO and receive information on how to avoid or fix potential problems related to the students' international status, de Guzmán said.
Other useful events included presentations about United States banking, health care, and immigration. The MITMedical Center put on several skits about loneliness, drinking, and sex, said Satayan Mahajan Jr. '96, who acted in all of the skits. "It was really good to see that the freshmen are making friends," he said.