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Penn Global Mosaic will join other pre-orientation programs in giving incoming students the opportunity to meet other undergraduates ahead of New Student Orientation (Photo courtesy of Dr. Rodolfo Altamirano).

Penn Global Mosaic, a new pre-orientation program launched by Penn Global and the University's International Student & Scholar Services, emphasizes intercultural exchange and global citizenship.

The program will bring together students from 21 countries and 12 states to engage with different cultures and become familiar with global opportunities offered at Penn. PGM is one of the University's pre-orientation programs available to incoming undergraduate students that allow them to build friendships ahead of New Student Orientation. 

PGM’s inaugural program will run from Aug. 19-21 in the Delaware Valley, where participants will take part in group discussions and team-building activities. The program encourages its students to engage in new experiences and foster skills such as self-awareness, cultural humility, curiosity, and open-mindedness.

Rodolfo Altamirano, the executive director of ISSS, emphasized the important role that global citizenship will take throughout the program. 

“It’s the first pre-orientation program with a global emphasis,” he said. “There will be a strong focus on [these elements].”

According to Yuhong He, the associate director of integration and community engagement at ISSS, Penn Global Mosaic aligns with Penn Global’s mission to “bring the world to Penn, and Penn to the world.” In a written statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian, she shared that the new program is part of ISSS's strategic plans for the next five years.

PGM was created in response to concerns brought up by international students regarding the timing of International Student Orientation and other pre-orientation programs, which typically conflict with each other, He explained.

Historically, international students had to choose whether to attend a pre-orientation program or ISO events. Additionally, the traditional timeline for pre-orientation applications made it difficult to find and book affordable flights to the United States. With PGM, acceptance decisions are released a week before other pre-orientation programs, and the program is scheduled to end in time for students to attend ISO.

Students from Penn World Scholars, the Assembly of International Students, and the International Student Advisory Board participated in the development process of the program, with many volunteering to become student leaders for the program.

Its first year has been a success — Penn Global Mosaic received nearly 100 applications in June, a number on par with existing pre-orientation programs. 

Half of this year’s cohort consists of international students, while the other half are from the United States. These proportions were deliberately chosen to ensure that engagement and interaction can happen across both ends, Altamirano said. International students who participate in PGM can have diverse experiences in their host country, while American students can meet peers from diverse backgrounds.

According to Quindy Pan, an incoming College first year and prospective participant, “There’s so much perspective [that comes from] foreign students.”

“I think Penn Global Mosaic will be a way to bridge the barrier between domestic and international students,” incoming Wharton and College first year Donovan Miller and prospective participant said. “I anticipate that it will prompt students to connect with people they don’t expect to, since most people gravitate toward those that are similar to them.”

“It’s easy for international students to [be considered] an invisible minority, but they’re an integral part of the Penn community,” Altamirano said. "Showcasing the positive aspects of global engagement makes a big difference; it raises the profile of international students, as well as their needs and experiences.”

“This is an important opportunity that can enrich Penn’s landscape,” he affirmed.