The University of Wisconsin-Madison welcomes international students from over 110 different countries. International students make up over 4,000 of the student population on campus. International students come to the United States only days or weeks before the semester begins. Once they arrive, they are confronted with language barriers, culture shock, loneliness, and academic stress, among other worries. The BRIDGE program was created to help new international students connect with U.S. students and alleviate some of their initial concerns.
To build global competencies by providing opportunities and safe forums for new international undergraduate students to engage with U.S. students and educate each other about their cultures and countries, life experiences and perspectives.
How the Program Works
New international students are paired up with U.S. students to participate in one-on-one and group activities throughout the semester. International partners learn about UW-Madison and the surrounding community, as well as cultural customs of the area. U.S. partners also benefit from the international students by learning about other countries, cultures, values and traditions. Participants in BRIDGE are cultural ambassadors and contribute to cultural sharing and exchanges throughout the program.
Participating in BRIDGE does involve commitment. BRIDGE partners must commit to meeting at least seven times throughout the semester. This comes out to about two times a month. BRIDGE partners will compare schedules and decide when to meet throughout the semester. There will be a list of suggested activities and events that partners can participate in or attend. Check out our calendar and photos and see what we have done! BRIDGE participants are also required to keep a short journal and write about their experiences and activities with their partner.