Fall 2012 Orientation Highlights
by Andrew Craig
When I arrived in Seattle in June, just four months ago, I was crazy excited about starting graduate school and starting my new life in Seattle. At the same time, I was absolutely intimidated/scared/overwhelmed by moving into this city. Shortly after arriving, I took a job with FIUTS, an organization I couldn't even pronounce the name of (causing much embarrassment in my interview), but it turned out to be a great decision and an amazing opportunity. Hired as Orientation Assistant in mid July, each day I was learning more and more about the scale of what I had gotten myself into. Over 2,100 international students arrived at the UW this Fall, the most yet, and FIUTS was putting on its largest Orientation program ever to serve them. Every leg of the FIUTS organization pulled together this fall to put on 12 days straight of events, BBQs, raffles, competitions, cruises and of course, camp, all starting immediately as our office moved into the brand new HUB.
Seattle Challenge was the first highlight, a scavenger hunt that scattered international students all over the city, flooding the bus system and visiting Seattle landmarks. By answering clues and taking incredible pictures, teams of four raced their competitors to win prizes and arrive at an after party to celebrate. That weekend, FIUTS went to summer camp at Camp Arnold for friendly competition, campfire songs and the mutually assured bewilderment known as square dancing. By Sunday, all of the students we brought with us were feeling comfortable enough to put on some of the most creative cultural skits and short performances ever. Coming back to Seattle, the fun continued with Pub Quiz, international trivia that only elicited the bare minimum of raucous disagreement; followed by an 8 team soccer tournament which displayed incomparable sportsmanship; and finally a cruise around Puget Sound on Friday to top it all off before classes started on Monday. All of these events were well attended with at least 100 students, some with much closer to 400 students.
I'm incredibly proud of the work the FIUTS has done and of everybody who made it possible. The FIUTS community extends far past staff and incoming international students. Facilitators, homestay hosts, FIUTS alumni, our board of trustees, and student board, all worked hard to put this together and it wouldn't have had the success it did without them. With that in mind, I'd like the last sentence of this post to be a thank you; not only for executing a successful program, but also for welcoming me with the same warm enthusiasm.