The international community at NWU

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Yoko Iwasaki-Zink.

International Relations Organization group photo of 2021 (photo by Yoko Iwasaki-Zink)

My name is Lison Le Gloan, and I am an international student at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Three months ago I left France and I crossed the Atlantic ocean to study in the United States. My experience here so far has been truly enriching and I feel welcome in Nebraska, especially thanks to the international community at NWU.

The International Relations Organization (IRO) in NWU is part of the Office of Global Engagement, and its mission is to welcome international students and help us make the most of our experience in NWU. When we got here in August, we were welcomed by our I-Pals. Each international student is paired with an American student at the beginning of the year that will help them to feel situated in this brand new environment. I-Pals are also members of IRO and each week, on Tuesday at 3:45 pm, we all meet to enjoy international students’ cultural presentations and discuss the upcoming activities with IRO.

Our President, Syble Heffernan, puts together every activity. Rami Hinrichs is our Vice President, Cait Gonifas is our IRO Secretary, Chloe Andreini is our Treasurer, Chandler Ashburn is our Publicity Chair, and Ludovic Layral is our Student Affairs Senate Representative. Together, IRO officers decide which activities to plan. Syble then handles the logistics of every activity during her shifts in the Office of Global Engagement, in which she works alongside Yoko Iwasaki-Zink, the International Student Advisor. She also helps Yoko to receive international students at the beginning of the semester by preparing rooms, documents, and I-Pal orientation. Syble describes her role as a facilitator: “The most important thing to me is that the international students and IRO members in general get to make this experience uniquely their own. My job is to listen to what they want to experience and help make it happen!”

Thanks to the work of this team, we had the opportunity to discover a lot in Lincoln. We went mini-golfing, ice-skating and bowling. We also had the chance to attend a Huskers game, and visit the State Capitol and the Omaha Zoo. We also experienced the traditional Halloween celebration when we went to the haunted houses at Roca Berry Farm.

IRO president Syble Heffernan (photo by Syble Heffernan)

This experience abroad would not be the same without the community we created. I am truly grateful that I am surrounded by such wonderful people. This is also an incredible experience for our I-Pals and officers. For Syble, this has been a great opportunity. “I love being able to learn from students about their cultures, languages and getting to see them thrive in this community.” As the President of the organization, she encourages everyone to join IRO. “We are a community of friends who have fun together, support each other, and get together regularly for fun activities. Each week is full of rich cultural learning experiences, and the chance to make your world so much bigger. This same opportunity for friendship, learning, and shared cultural experiences comes by being a part of our I-Pal program. Our international students are incredible people, and each and every one of them is someone you should want to know and learn from. Friendship is at the center of IRO and the I-Pal programs, and I can honestly say my involvement in these programs is the best thing I’ve done in my college career.”

If you want to get involved in this organization, you can still apply to become an I-Pal for the spring semester until December 8 using the following link. Also if you want to stay caught up in all the fun throughout the year, follow IRO on Instagram @nwu.iro.

I-Pal Application Form

IRO’s Instagram