This page has been designed especially for current Puget Sound students who are interested in partnering with a new international student or an incoming Third Culture Kid (TCK). Listed below are common questions that many applicants have. If you have additional questions or would like more information about becoming an international student/TCK partner at Puget Sound, please contact the International Student Advisor in the Office of International Programs or the I-Connect Program Coordinator.
- How does the program work?
- Am I qualified to be an international student/Third Culture Kid partner?
- How do I apply?
- What are my responsibilities?
- How much time will it take?
- When will I find out my match?
- What should I talk with my assigned student?
- What will I gain from this program?
At the beginning of each academic year, the Office of International Programs will pair a new international student or Third Culture Kid with a current Puget Sound student, based on academic and personal interests.
Any Puget Sound student who is eager to meet people from other countries and open to different perspectives, values, and ideas can apply to be an international student/TCK partner. Specific qualifications are as follows:
- Hold a current GPA of 2.0 or above
- Be enrolled at Puget Sound for the academic year during which you will participate in the program
Successful applicants should demonstrate:
- An appreciation for and sensitivity to cultural differences
- Good interpersonal communication skills
- Leadership skills by interacting positively and eliciting involvement of international students and TCK's
- The ability to work effectively as a team member with other members, international students, and TCK's
- The ability to make sound, independent judgments and decisions, solve problems, and improvise
- Commitment to attend all training sessions and events (typically 2 event per semester)
- Willingness to be a role model and uphold university policies and expectations
- Other relevant qualities including but not limited to enthusiasm, good humor, openness of mind
The application process for the I-Connect Program takes place once a year during spring semester. Further information regarding the interview process can be found here.
- Establish contact with assigned student over the summer via e-mail.
- Maintain regular contact with assigned student by way of informal biweekly check-in meetings.
- Be available as an active resource for assigned student.
- Attend and participate fully in all I-Connect events.
- Assist in evaluation of program at the end of the year.
By applying to become an international student or TCK mentor, you are committing to maintain regular contact with your assigned student by way of informal bi-weekly check-in meetings, which usually takes from 15 to 30 minutes. These meetings are as flexible as you and your assigned student desire them to be: they can range from email exchanges to in-person meetings, such as going to lunch or attending a campus event together. While International Club and International Programs will provide a list of possible events for you and your partner to attend, you are free to choose other activities suitable to you and your international student or TCK's interests. It is important to take into consideration that some students may require more guidance than others, thus, more time and effort will be expected from their partners. Keep in mind that summer and early fall communication should be more regular to help ease the transition of the international student or TCK into the Puget Sound community.
You will receive information about your assigned student during the summer, and you are expected to contact your student by e-mail prior to his/her arrival to the United States.
First-year international students or TCKs would likely want some tips on favorite classes, what resources are available on campus, and things to do in the Tacoma/Seattle area. International students may experience homesickness, culture shock, or academic issues, while TCKs may feel "out of sync" with their peers. You should take note of the unique needs of your assigned student, and be available to answer questions and concerns s/he might have. You should also encourage your assigned student to take full advantage of the many resources and activities available on campus in order to ensure his/her transition to Puget Sound is a supportive and positive experience. Attending events together is an important aspect of this program.
International students and TCKs bring unique perspectives to the Puget Sound community. Don't hesitate to ask them about their culture, or ask them to share in a cultural activity with you. For example, you could cook a meal from their home country together, exchange language tips, or participate in a unique cultural celebration. And please let us know what unique ideas you and your partner have thought of, so we can share it with others!