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Global Pathways Program, radio show help international students get comfortable on campus

Global Talks and Tunes
Since the winter quarter, each of the 12 Global Pathways Program students have joined the hosts of Radio DePaul's "Global Talks and Tunes" for interviews on the show. Not only did the content relate to the already-established cultural program, but the interviews provided GPP students an opportunity to practice their English speaking and listening skills. (Image courtesy of Matthew Van Someren)
Starting college can be nerve-racking for most students. Although there are plenty of available resources, finding your way around a large campus, making new friends and even figuring out what courses to take can be a juggling act. Now imagine doing all of that in a new country with a culture and language different from your own. That’s what most of DePaul’s international students experience, and where “Global Talks and Tunes​” comes into play. 

Hosted by College of Communication undergraduate students Adriana Talavera and Damita M. Menezes on Radio DePaul, “Global Talks and Tunes” focuses on learning about different ethnicities represented at DePaul. The duo play music from around the globe, explore common issues experienced by international students – from culture shock to dealing with diversity – and share funny and interesting stories from their time on campus.

“Our hope is that our show can be an outlet for international student voices on campus,” Menezes says. 

Matt Van Someren, an instructor in the English Language Academy, learned of the radio program and immediately made a connection to DePaul’s new Global Pathways Program.

“Pathways students come to us to ease the transition between home and campus life, and here were students talking about that very transition on the radio,” Van Someren says. “I thought this could be an opportunity for our cohort to learn outside the traditional classroom setting and also discuss their experience with acculturation.”

Since the winter quarter, each of the 12 GPP students have joined Talavera and Menezes for interviews. Not only did the content relate to the already-established cultural program, but the interviews provided GPP students an opportunity to practice their English speaking and listening skills, a main priority of the GPP.

“Working with the GPP opened my eyes to the various ways our show can help share different cultures at DePaul -- from helping the GPP participants become more comfortable with their English skills to bringing those international perspectives to DePaul’s American students. It was a great experience,” Talavera says.

According to Van Someren, the radio hosts weren’t the only students inspired by the interviews.

“Because of their time on ‘Global Talks and Tunes,’ several of our GPP cohort members are interested in starting their own radio shows,” he says. “It was an impactful experience.”

Launched in winter 2019, the GPP is designed for academically talented international students whose English proficiency keeps them from entering directly into degree programs. It combines English for Academic Purposes courses with credit-bearing classes to create a full-time schedule for participating students. Program staff meet bi-weekly with students for progress updates and offer seminars on study skills, small group communication and collaboration, as well as  problem solving approaches to help students adjust to the U.S. education system. 

“A big goal for us is to facilitate transformative global learning and cross-cultural engagement for all DePaul community members,” says Gretchen Frickx, program director of the GPP. “By providing another entry point to the university for international students, the GPP increases the number of opportunities for people to engage with students from cultures and countries other than their own. Additionally, when international students return home after studying here, they bring their experiences and education with them. They become ambassadors for DePaul and our Vincentian values.”

The first cohort began in the winter, and all are expected to progress to their degree programs by the end of this summer. While several students will continue their program this summer, Frickx and her team are looking to the fall quarter, when the GPP will welcome a new cohort of graduate students, as well as the program’s first undergraduate cohort.