Office of Intercultural Relations
Welcome to the Office of Intercultural Relations (OIR)! As an international university, Old Dominion hosts a global community of over 1,200 international students and scholars from 113 different countries.
OIR welcomes this desired diversity by providing services as well as educational and engaging international programs for international and American students studying at ODU. In addition, OIR enthusiastically seeks to collaborate with current international students, student organizations, and all internal ODU departments, as well as external (community) entities in order to educate and raise awareness about our on-campus international community.
Some of the services and international programs we provide include:
Arrival Assistance Service
The arrival assistance service assists new international students in need with their initial arrival to Norfolk/ODU. This service includes pre-arrival support, pick-up from the airport or bus terminal, and/or placement in temporary housing.
International Student Orientation
International student orientation is a mandatory program for all new international students attending ODU in the fall or spring semester. The orientation provides crucial information related to academic, social, and cultural aspects of the new student experience. These considerations help our international students better assimilate as an integral part of the ODU community, as well as contribute to U.S. society.
Global Monarch Club(GMC)
The Global Monarch Club program provides first-hand multicultural interaction experience for international and American students. The mentors (who must complete an orientation session) assist international students with their adjustment to new and different social, cultural, and academic environs at ODU and in the US. Student mentors are privileged to enjoy a unique opportunity to build diverse skills of leadership, organization, communication, and intercultural relations.
International Student Advisory Board (ISAB)
The ISAB serves as a liaison between the international students and the Office of Intercultural Relations by representing the views and concerns of international students. The ISAB provides constructive feedback and suggestions for improving current international programs and services, as well as by making recommendations for new international initiatives.
The Pathfinder is a document created and maintained by the Office of Intercultural Relations (OIR). The Pathfinder provides information regarding OIR programming and initiatives, Old Dominion University office contact information, a list of student organizations available to join, and memoirs of current international students studying at Old Dominion University.
Click here to view the Pathfinder
The ODU International Festival is a global extravaganza that attracts thousands of people from the Hampton Roads and ODU communities. This annual event celebrates global cultures by showcasing a diversity of authentic ethnic foods, cultural performances, merchant vendors, and educational stations which highlight more than 48 nations. This unique event has resonated greatly within the ODU student community evidenced by the support and commitment of over 900 student volunteers each year. These volunteers, representing nearly 60 organizations at ODU, handle logistics and oversee more than 40 global activity stations. The festival is free and open to the public.
The intent of the Global Café is to bring together and help bridge the gap between American and international students, faculty, and staff. The entire ODU community is encouraged to come and meet with each other while participants enjoy their coffee and refreshments.
Each week, the Café features a 15-20 minute presentation which introduces an important current international issue, such as: education, politics, people, and countries & cultures. Our Spring 2013 Global Café series included such topics as: Morocco, Ethiopia, and Guatemala.
OIR seeks to partner with international students, student organizations, offices, and departments to contribute by presenting various topics during the café hour. If you wish to be part of the program, please contact us to discuss in more detail.
OIR collaborates with the English Language Center to organize the “Experience America” series. This program is designed to provide an opportunity for international students to connect with Americans through exploration of topics and activities related to life, society, and culture in the USA. Successfully launched in Spring 2011, the series included: All About America, American Football, and American Cooking. The program has received a tremendous response from the ODU international community which has attracted a diverse group of ethnicities and ages, both undergraduate and graduate alike.
This program colorfully unites international students with American students, faculty, and staff for authentic cross-cultural interaction. The scheduled activities/program are designed to educate and raise awareness of the ODU community with regard to international people, traditions, cultures, and cuisines representing our diverse campus. Examples of the programs organized in Spring 2011 include: the celebration of the Chinese New Year (co-organized by the Asian Pacific American Student Union), the Chinese Student and Scholar Association, and the Thai Student Association.
International Education Week (IEW)
IEW, the initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, is a world-wide week long celebration promoting and celebrating intercultural and international educational programs. OIR executes this initiative via the creation of organized programs designed to prepare students and communities for a global environment.
A week long program offered in both the Fall and Spring, Asian Seasons, is an initiative designed to celebrate Asian countries and their cultures. ODU enrolls a great number of Asian-American and Asian international students. The continent of Asia is composed of many countries and each one carries similarities and differences. This initiative addresses some misconceptions about Asian people, helping to increase awareness and knowledge about this segment of the global population.
Global Family Cookout
Our community wide cookout revolves around good food, nice folks, and great fun! Activities involving food, fun, and games naturally foster a sense of community, and inclusiveness which is increasingly important for our students, faculty, and staff as well as their families. Fall 2010 was the inaugural event which welcomed over 600 Monarchs.
Please stay tuned and check our website for events and programs. If you have any ideas and suggestions to make international student life at ODU much more engaging, please do not hesitate to contact Rachawan (Aey) Wongtrirat, Assistant Director of International Initiatives or give us a call at (757) 683-4406.