Welcome Ambassador International (WAI) is a group of trained student volunteers committed to helping international students adapt to campus life in a new cultural environment.

Because of various language and cultural barriers, international students sometimes need help, and the experience of upperclassman can make a difference. WAIs can act as a bridge, allowing new students to find someone they can trust. And for the upperclassman volunteers, it is an opportunity to give back to the University and communicate with new students. International students bring a lot of ideas, culture, world views and life experience. Both international and domestic students can learn a lot from each other.

I chatted with some of my fellow WAI friends about their experience and why they think you should apply to be a Welcome Ambassador International!

Aorui Pi ’20

Aorui Pi

Why did you want to be a WAI?

I was looking for something fun during the summer, and I saw this volunteer program was open, so I applied. I thought I could learn more about the school spirit and make more friends.

What did you gain as a WAI?

I indeed made a lot of friends and gained cool experience, like I went to the JFK airport for picking up students and helped organize major welcome events for all the international students. Most importantly, I feel more comfortable talking with others in English than before.

Why do you encourage other students to join WAI?

It’s definitely a great opportunity to master the ability of speaking and communicating. I think everyone who wants to make more friends or wants to help the international student community should apply to this program! Because WAI is like a special bonding, you could spend your wonderful week with new friends from all around world. It may sounds cliché, but helping people does make me feel better.

Whitney Welbaum ’23

Why did you want to be a WAI?Whitney Welbaum

The main reason I wanted to become a WAI was to meet new people from different backgrounds and help them with their transition on campus. I feel that there is so much to learn from other people, and I want to help them feel at home in a place that I love.

What did you gain as a WAI?

I learned a lot about the importance of clear communication while working as a WAI. Things can get crazy during orientation week and it was important to make sure all my team members were on the same page when working together.

Why do you encourage other students to join WAI?

I would encourage anyone interested to participate in WAI because you learn so much about yourself and others. Overall, it’s a great way to meet new people and work on your leadership skills.

Do you want to be a Welcome Ambassador International and support our International Students? Apply today! Applications are open and available through Handshake, Syracuse University’s career management tool. Go Orange!

Written by Ruohan Xu ’23, College of Engineering & Computer Science, Welcome Ambassador International