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This one-day event is an opportunity for the campus community to learn, share and discuss successful institutional strategies, and examine effective approaches to enhancing the international student experience at UC San Diego. At this symposium, you will:

  • Hear from campus leaders and from units supporting international students at UC San Diego
  • Explore results from the UC Undergraduate Experience Survey and Graduate & Professional School Graduate Experience Survey
  • Discover the most common challenges faced by international students and discuss ways of addressing them
  • Find out about how international students would like to see the campus community respond to their concerns
  • Learn from colleagues about how they ensure a positive experience for international students, who make up nearly 25% of the total UC San Diego community of learning.


The issues surrounding international student success are more complex than ever. The unstable political climate and the ongoing debates around migration have fueled a feeling of doubt and unease for international students studying, or considering studying, in the U.S. It is important to reassure current and potential international students that they are welcome at UC San Diego, and deliver a first-rate international student experience. Developing an international reputation as tolerant, inclusive and progressive campus through our international students makes UC San Diego a destination for the world's brightest academics and researchers. Additionally, it helps fulfill the University's mission of transforming California and a diverse global society. 


Any faculty and staff who have responsibility for or play a part in supporting a positive international student experience at UC San Diego. 


8:30—9 a.m. Check-in and Networking Breakfast
9—9:15 a.m. Welcoming Remarks
Introduction: Alysson M. Satterlund, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Welcome: Elizabeth H. Simmons, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs


9:15—9:45 a.m. Keynote Speaker: Campus Climate and International Student Success


Rahul Choudaha, Ph.D., Principal Researcher, DrEducation

International students interact with several dimensions of campus climate and enrich the experiences of all campus stakeholders. However, campus readiness for supporting international student success often lags student needs and expectations. To ensure international student success and positivity of campus climate, it is crucial to recognize the diversity of international students and align resources to meet their needs and expectations.

9:45—10:45 a.m. The International Student Experience @ UC San Diego: Show Me the Data

9:45am-10:15am: International Undergraduate Experiences by Bill Armstrong, Ph.D., Institutional Research

Using findings from the University of California Undergraduate Experiences Survey (UCUES), this presentation will provide a brief overview of the academic, social, and engagement experiences of International students. Topics will include academic adjustment and engagement, perceptions of undergraduate life, and satisfaction with selected dimensions of the undergraduate experience at UC San Diego. In addition to comparing the experiences of UC San Diego International students with domestic students, the presentation will also include comparison data on the International student experience from other UC campuses.


10:15am-10:45am: International Graduate & Professional School Student Experiences  by Erin Espaldon, Senior Analyst, Institutional Research

This presentation will briefly cover the academic, social, and cultural experiences international graduate students have at UC San Diego, and it will highlight interactions of international students with faculty and other graduate students. It will examine similarities and differences between international and domestic students as well as the varying experiences of international graduate students in different degree types.

11:00am-11:50am: Facilitating the Academic Success of International Students

Track #1: 11am-11:50am: Undergraduate Students
Karen Gocsik, Director and Associate Teaching Professor, Analytical Writing Program
Holly Bauer, Associate Director and Lecturer, Analytical Writing Program
Lisa Naylor, Lecturer, Analytical Writing Program

Representatives from the Analytical Writing Program will share what they’ve learned from decades of working with international student writers, focusing on the research-informed principles and practices that have proven successful in supporting this diverse group.

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Karen Gocsik Holly Bauer Lisa Naylor


Track #2: 11am-11:50am: Graduate Students
Matt Nelson, Director, Writing Hub (Teaching + Learning Commons)
Erica Bender, Ph.D., Associate Director, Writing Hub (Teaching + Learning Commons)

This session will contextualize the academic experiences of multilingual international graduate students within a framework of graduate student intellectual and professional development. The session will examine assumptions and share strategies for supporting international graduate students, focusing specifically on their development as writers in an academic field.

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Matt Nelson Erica Bender

12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch (Provided for Registered Participants)

1:00pm-1:45pm: Student Panel: What is it like to be an international student at UC San Diego?

Moderated by:
Dulce Amor L. Dorado, Director, International Students & Programs Office, Global Education
International undergraduate and graduate students share their academic, cultural, and social experiences at UC San Diego and suggest ways to improve the overall experience of students in our campus community.

1:45pm-2:15pm: Preparing Our Students to Achieve Career and Professional Goals and Inspire Alumni Engagement

Kris Hergert, Executive Director, Career Services Center
Analia Mendez, Director of Career Advising Education, Career Services Center

During this session, Kris and Analia will discuss proven methods faculty and staff can partner to help international students with their career destinations as well as offer insights into trends/strategies that other campus partners are developing to support international students.

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Kris Hergert Analia Mendez

2:15pm-2:45pm: Removing Barriers to International Student’s Adjustment and Wellness


Rina Schul, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

International students face unique challenges that often affect their adjustment and well-being. Each staff and faculty member can use five core competencies in their point of contact with the international student to help level the playing field from which they can exercise their full potential.

3:00pm-4:15pm Ideation Lab: Identify Opportunities and Explore Next Steps

Facilitated by UC San Diego faculty and staff.

Participants will engage in discussions on five key themes impacting the overall experience of international students:

  • Academic
  • Social and Cultural
  • Health and Wellness
  • Career Development and Alumni Engagement

Explore quick-wins, more complex changes, and longer-term opportunities, identify required resources and support, and explore next steps.

4:30—6 p.m. Reception
Immediately following in the Price Center East Ballroom Patio


This symposium is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor- Student Affairs, Global Education and the International Students & Programs Office