Each year, International Student and Scholar Services awards scholarships to a select group of high-performing international students who, after submitting a formal application and presentation, show a passion for serving the international students on WKU’s campus. Depending on the talent pool, the number of recipients varies from year to year, however, whether the group consists of 5 or 10, they possess the skills necessary to provide support services to prospective, incoming and first-year international students so that no matter where they may come from, all international students feel welcomed and supported on “The Hill.”
“Working with this group of students is by far one of the most rewarding parts of my job,” said WesleyAnne Watkins, a co-advisor for the program. “This group has always shown an incredible and contagious passion for making a difference in the lives of the students on our campus. They genuinely want to make sure new students are getting involved and become fully integrated into WKU life so that they are making the most of their experience studying in a different country and culture.”
The International Student Diplomats not only serve as the core support group for international students but also stand in as campus representatives for the international student body. They take an oath to answer any questions prospective students may have, to guide all first-year international students through their introductory year at WKU, and offer programming to make sure international students are interacting not only with one another but also with the entire campus community and have ample opportunities to share their cultures with the WKU campus as a whole.
Kate Ngo (Accounting and Finance major from Vietnam), now serving her second year in the program says being an International Student Diplomat means so much to her because it fulfills her goal of helping international students who are new to WKU. “I feel like the world we live in is not just about our own shell,” Kate said. “It is also about the people surrounding us. I love to meet and communicate with people from around the globe to sharpen my knowledge of not only my own culture but other cultures too.”
This year’s group is comprised of eight international students, all from different countries, both undergraduate and graduate and all pursing different degree paths:
“This program is vital to our student support services,” said Savannah White, also a co-advisor of the program. “We’ve learned that perspective and even current students would much rather talk to another student who has either gone through what they’re currently facing or someone that they feel a connection to, either because they are from the same country or are interested in the same major. The really important and organic conversations happen peer-to-peer and far more valuable than any conversation I could have with a student.”
International Student Diplomats are available for in-person meetings on campus, as well as WhatsApp and Skype sessions for prospective students. A current or prospective student who may benefit from chatting with a diplomat can view the profiles of each member and schedule a chat HERE or contact the diplomats via the methods below: