Feature News

Students embrace global immersion in new living learning community

Mar 26, 2018

North Central’s expanding options for living-learning communities are giving students new alternatives to the traditional residence hall experience.

The International Floor located in Patterson Residence Hall is home to the majority of international students at North Central, offering them the opportunity to share rooms and common spaces with other students.

“Our goal was to create an environment where both international and domestic students could build community and learn from each other’s differences,” said Jesús Velasco, international student advisor at the Center for Global Education and founder of the community.

Victor Krüeeger and Jami Haasl, the International Floor’s Resident Assistants (RAs), act as resources for campus information and provide programming, events and more.

Krüeeger, an international student from Malmö, Sweden majoring in Chinese and international business, knows from his own experiences that there are unique challenges and benefits for his residents.

“There are a lot more differences on a floor like this, but both Jami and I have worked hard to adapt our styles to facilitate this process,” said Krüeeger. “Our whole floor has adjusted really well to both college and living together.”

To help with the transition, the RAs host programs specifically geared toward their multicultural residents, such as a cooking class with International Club, or FUNdue & Trivia.

Haasl is double majoring in organizational communication and psychology, and has lived in Naperville, New York and London, and has travelled to Germany and Austria on a December Term trip.

“When students were moving back to campus after winter break, the hall was filled with laughter,” said Haasl. “They were overjoyed to reunite with their friends, and living with them has inspired me to go abroad again during my senior year.”

Students also enroll in a First Year Experience course with a global theme.

“It will take a few years before we can really assess the impact of this community,” said Velasco, “but we have seen immediate positive results in relationship building. As of now, all international first-year students on the floor are planning to continue on to their second year of studies at North Central.”

North Central’s College Scholars have their own learning community in Ward Residence Hall. Students in the program can take courses in the classroom in Ward, as well as stop by the office of Kristen Geraty director of the College Honors Program and associate professor of sociology.

In addition, students entering the new engineering program this fall will have the option of joining their own living-learning community in Residence Hall/Recreation Center. These students will be able to interact with future engineers and work on cocurricular projects under the guidance of engineering faculty.

For more information about living-learning communities, contact the Office of Residence Life.

By Mark Mullane ‘17/M ’19