THE “GLOBAL SIBLINGS” Program
The Global Siblings program pairs one international student with one domestic student for the academic year. International students vary widely in their experiences abroad. Some students may have extensive experiences working, traveling and studying in the United States, while for others, this may be their first experience outside of their country. As a result, domestic siblings are asked to help facilitate their international sibling’s transition and experience at UCLA according to his/her needs. On the other hand, it is not just a one way relationship. Domestic students gain the benefits of learning about a new culture and different perspectives. In addition, to creating friendships with students from all over the world!
In addition to gaining a sibling, all participants are divided into families of 20 to 30 students (half international and half domestic). Each family will have a designated interest (e.g. Arts and Culture) and under the guidance of a Global Siblings Coordinator, will have various planned activities each quarter. Global Sibling Families provide members a great opportunity to connect with others who hold similar interests, share in fun experiences, build a support system, and to learn about various cultures from around the world!
Friendship: Building a friendship is one of the simplest and most effective ways to help your international sibling, and make for a meaningful experience. Many international siblings are overwhelmed by the changes of their environment, may feel homesick, and have feelings of loneliness. During these times, lending your support to your sibling by taking them out to lunch or even offering a word of encouragement can go a long way towards making them feel more at home in a new place.
Resource: Many of the things we take for granted, or what we might call common knowledge may be completely foreign to your international sibling. Assisting your sibling with their questions about UCLA and LA in general, whether they are about classes, the weather, and fun spots to visit can be extremely helpful in their adjustment to life in the States.
Culture Sharing: One of the most important characteristics of a Global Sibling is the ability to be culturally sensitive. Depending on where your sibling comes from, your sibling may have a set of customs and values that are different from those in the United States. Understanding that their views and values are just as valid as the ones we have here is the foundation of cultural sensitivity. As a Global Sibling, it is your challenge to be able to help your own sibling to navigate these differences. Though your sibling will undoubtedly learn as they go, having an awareness of these differences and being able to explain the American point of view can help your sibling learn a great deal about the culture at UCLA and in the US. This is also an excellent opportunity for domestic Global Siblings to keep an open mind and gain an in-depth understanding of a new culture as well.
Friendship: Don’t think the relationship is one sided – we often hear from domestic siblings that they get more from the relationship than they feel they give! We live in a globalized society where we interact with people from other cultures on a daily basis, yet outside the workplace and the classroom the friendship circles of domestic students are often very homogenous. Just like international students, they are also new to the college environment and are just as interested in making new friends and connections to enhance their own UCLA experience.
Culture Sharing/Intercultural Communication: As a Global Sibling you have an excellent opportunity to teach your domestic sibling about your native culture and traditions. Many have never interacted on an intimate level with international students so this program provides a great opportunity for cultural sharing and learning. Furthermore, as the economy becomes more globalized, it is imperative that domestic students become competent intercultural communicators. Interactions with international siblings provide them with opportunities to improve these communication skills that will help them succeed in the classroom and workplace.
The ideas are endless. You can be as creative or as relaxed as you and your sibling want, as long as you have fun! Here are some activities that Global Siblings have done.
Yes! If you have worked as a global sibling before or are looking for a way to get more involved, consider applying for the Global Sibling Coordinator Position. It is an excellent opportunity to develop leadership and programming skills, insight into a new culture, cultural sensitivity, and of course, fun with new friends! We are currently no longer accepting applications for the 2014-2015 academic year. Please check back in the Spring Quarter for more information on how to apply to be a coordinator for the 2015-2016 academic year.Email us at: email@example.com.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
Currently accepting applications!