Building Community at UC with IPALs

As an international student, I have traveled to many different states for my academic career and Cincinnati is where I decided to spend the next 4 years, going to college at the University of Cincinnati (UC). Studying in a completely new state and knowing nothing and no one was a scary thing for me to think about, but when I came here, I immediately felt like this was where I belonged. UC offers a lot of different organizations and clubs for students to join but IPALs was one I decided to be a part of.

IPALs is short for International Partners and Leaders. It consists of a group of UC domestic and international students who meet to share their cultures, make friends, and help other international students feel welcome in their new home at UC. Although I am still new to IPALs since I just joined this January, the friendliness they gave out helped me feel like home right away.  

The first time I ever encountered IPALs at UC was during orientation week. All international students were invited to participate in a half-day that was full of activities in different teams. A lot of teamwork also gave the best opportunity to meet new people and bond with them. They even gave us free stuff at the end of the day. 

As an IPAL now, I have learned a lot about the value of each individual, made a lot of new friends, learned how to be a more welcoming presence on campus and also got to go to fun events such as the football game,  International Taste ( Taste in UC – UC Student Blog). I am planning to go to the International Prom also hosted by IPALs in March at the Aquarium which receives a lot of good feedback. It is a dance hosted at the aquarium, and you can go with a date, friends, or by yourself to enjoy the scenery and have a fun night out in Newport, Kentucky.

Being an IPAL comes with a lot of perks such as volunteering to go to fun events as well as making tons of new friends and memories. It is also very simple to get involved with IPALs. They have recruitment each semester so you can apply to be one. You just have to go to some of their meetup events, ask for an application, and apply. Even if you aren’t an IPAL, they are a great group of people who are always happy to help you navigate through UC. If you have any troubles, you can always ask an IPAL for assistance.

Hope to see you at UC!

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