Published 09/02/11

The first steps of a four-year journey

September 2011

The first few days of college are an exciting but anxious time for most new students. Now imagine the Bryant student who is not only stepping on campus for the first time, but may also have traveled thousands of miles to visit the United States for the first time, as well.

To ease the transition to university life for international and multicultural students, The Intercultural Center (ICC) at Bryant offers 4MILE, a week-long program that provides connections to the resources and support networks that are the foundation for a successful four-year college journey.

Ongoing support for international and multicultural students is also available throughout their first year on campus. “The ICC is a home away from home for students and a place where they can grow as individuals during their time here,” says ICC Director Shontay Delalue King. “It is designed to make students feel welcomed, supported, and advocated for.” 

A memorable start to college life

The Class of 2015 is comprised of nearly 25% multicultural and international students, 140 of whom are participating in 4MILE. They hail from 11 states and 28 countries, and include 11 students from India, eight from China, five from Vietnam, and three from Burma, among others from many faraway locations.

Rohan Laungani, a senior from Lagos, Nigeria, who initially attended the program as a freshman, is a lead counselor for this year’s event. 

“4MILE is the best experience that I have had at Bryant,” he says “It allows you to take advantage of help from your peers, as well as the resources available to you on campus. It really is the best way to start the most memorable four years of your life.”

Over five days, participants are meeting with their academic advisors, attending sessions about adjusting to the American classroom, heading off-campus to explore city life in Boston and Providence, and adapting to residence hall living with new-found friends.

Year-long support for 4MILE participants

Participants are also introduced to a mentor, a fellow student and counselor who stays connected to their mentee throughout their first year to advise them on the four areas of focus, or “pillars,” of 4MILE support: cultural, academic, personal, and social.

“Most of the struggles these students may face come within the first year, not just during the first week. Having a counselor who has been through most of these situations helps them to relate and get the support they need,” says 4MILE Lead Counselor Erik Archila ’12, a first-generation American of Guatemalan descent.

Jordan Brown ’12, a 4MILE lead counselor from Kingston, Jamaica, agrees: “It is important to maintain contact, maintain bonds, and provide support throughout the year, not just at the beginning of the program. We keep each other afloat.”