Volunteer Work and Socializing Activities: Impact on Campus Internationalization
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The social and cultural adjustment challenges facing international students have always attracted the attention of university and college administrators (Pinheiro, 2001; Reedstrom, 2005; Zhao, Kuh &, Carini, 2005). As colleges try to make up for the loss in international recruitment in the post 9/11 phase, various volunteer efforts are encouraged to welcome, orient, and integrate international students into the American life and society (Wit, 2002). While serving their original purpose of asserting the friendliness and the welcoming gestures of host institutions to international students, these volunteer efforts aim indirectly to increase international enrollment and campus internationalization. Recognizing the possible potentials of these efforts and their expected impact on recruitment, retention, and success of international students at a Mid-Western public research university, this study examined the role of a range of volunteer efforts in engaging, recruiting, and retaining international students on an American higher education setting. Traditional qualitative techniques like interviews, document reviews, and observations were utilized in the data collection. Three themes emerged around collaboration between volunteers and the university including: university support for volunteer activities, obstacles to volunteer work, and the influence of volunteer activities on international students. Findings shed lights on ways to maximize benefits of volunteer work engaging and easing the adjustment challenges of international students and its impact on campus internationalization. Findings also showed that these efforts and activities, though partially recognized, might face challenges that hinder the achievement of their desired outcomes.