International education brings EAP students together

EAP Alumni Katie Gabara and Stephanie Benetua meet new international friends Eleanor Rose and Jonathan Kinnear from the UK

More than 70 domestic and international UCSC Education Abroad Program students recently attended the second annual International Friends "Meet and Greet" event. Offered through the UCSC Office of International Education (OIE), this innovative program matches EAP alumni (domestic students returning from participating in EAP studies abroad) with EAP reciprocity students (incoming international students studying at UCSC). The event provides an opportunity for international students to enhance their UCSC experience by building personal connections and a social network that will last throughout their stay in Santa Cruz; the event also enables EAP alumni to stay connected to their study abroad experience.

Students arrived at Woodstock's Pizza outdoor patio, anxious and eager to meet their international friends for the first time. Students exchanged travel stories, ate pizza, and made connections with people from different cultural backgrounds. Raffle prizes were donated by local businesses, including gift certificates from Charlie Hong Kong's restaurant, and coffee or tea "bucks" from Café Pergolesi. At the end of the Meet and Greet, students left to socialize in the downtown area with their new friends.

Event organizers, EAP Advisor Kate Gioia and International Student Advisor Hayat Succar, were pleased with the enthusiastic student response to the event and grateful to Woodstock's for their generous support. "This type of programming will help to foster international awareness and to strengthen intercultural relationships both within UCSC and in the greater Santa Cruz community," Succar said.