New Living Learning Community Fosters Understanding Between International and Domestic Students on Campus

Bowling and laser tag were two American activities explored by members of the International Education Living Learning Community during an outing to Fast Lane Entertainment
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Bowling and laser tag were two American activities explored by members of the International Education Living Learning Community during an outing to Fast Lane Entertainment

University Housing launched a new Living Learning Community for the 2017-18 academic year designed to foster greater international connections among University of Arkansas students.

Living Learning Communities, or LLCs, are specialized residential environments where students with similar interests live together and attend many of the same classes. These communities are overseen by Stephanie Adams, associate director for academic engagement for University Housing.

Students in the International Education Living Learning Community all live in Holcombe Hall and represent a variety of cultural backgrounds and academic majors. They share the goal of enhancing intercultural understanding and improving cross-cultural communication skills.

"Throughout the year, students learn about different cultures, but more importantly, how to interact with people of other cultures and build broader relationships internationally," said Austin Cowart, a student who serves as a peer ambassador for the international LLC.

Students in the community attend internationally-themed workshops, participate in conversation groups, take part in international education activities on campus and meet regularly with the community's faculty adviser, Rebecca Miles, and the staff in the Office of International Students and Scholars.

"I see them getting closer," said Tessa Constant, a University Housing graduate assistant. "They eat meals together, attend events together and message each other in GroupMe."

Personal development of students' intercultural competencies is measured using the Intercultural Development Inventory. Students' movement on the inventory's continuum scale is tracked from the beginning of the fall semester to the end of the spring semester.

"Our goal is to affect these students personally," said Michael Freeman, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars. "We want to give them the tools they need to negotiate the diversity in this world. We hope the benefits of this living learning community will be felt beyond the participating students and will impact the larger campus community as well."

Collaborations between University Housing and campus partners help the success of LLCs, Stephanie Adams said.

"Working with staff in the international students and scholars office has been a wonderful collaboration, and we are very happy to see the intentional programming that leads to stronger relationships between international and domestic students."

About Living Learning Communities: University Housing offers several residential communities to students organized around academic majors and educational interests. Each Living Learning Community, or LLC, allows on-campus students to live alongside others who share their interests and participate in monthly activities that promote academic and personal success. Learn more about LLCs.

Contacts

Amanda Cantu, director of communications
Graduate School and International Education
479-575-5809, amandcan@uark.edu

Christopher Spencer, assistant director of strategic communications
University Housing
479-575-5084, cjspence@uark.edu

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