Global Living LLC Grows International Friendships in Residence
- Nov 15, 2023
- Isabella Gonzalez-Lawson
Arriving from hundreds or even thousands of miles away from home, international students make their first steps onto the Forty Acres. The initial days at a huge college like The University of Texas at Austin can feel overwhelming, confusing and scary.
For those who may feel lost in the shuffle, the Global Living Learning Community (LLC) is a space in which students from all around the world can feel welcome.
A collaboration between Texas Global and University Housing and Dining, the Global Living LLC stands out as a unique resource available on campus. Open to all international and U.S. undergraduates as well as J-1 exchange students, the Global Living LLC serves to promote intercultural competency and communication skills among its residents by forming intimate communities of international and U.S. students living together.
International Rapport in Close Community
Currently housed in Whitis Court, the smallest residential hall on campus, Global Living encompasses a cohort of just 32 students. Campbell Stuart, the international program coordinator at Texas Global, said the small, close-knit dorm is a standout feature, especially when compared to other residential options on campus.
“A smaller cohort allows these students to feel a closer sense of community and welcome when they first arrive on campus,” Stuart said. “International students are able to experience life in the U.S. alongside domestic students who know the ins and outs, and also with fellow international students who may be having a similar experience.”
As an initiative offered within several residential halls across the UT Austin campus, Living Learning Communities pursue the objective of enriching students’ residential experience with specialized academic and social opportunities based on each LLC’s distinctive theme.
To promote the theme of intercultural learning, Global Living employs another unique feature: the pairing system, in which international students are intentionally matched with U.S. students as roommates to further facilitate cultural exchange between peers. This strategy offers Global Living residents the opportunity to form intimate friendships that can support them throughout their time at UT Austin.
Cultural Learning via Social Opportunities
Not only are residents encouraged to forge connections within close quarters, but Global Living also actively encourages students to participate in dinners, discussions, faculty mentorships and social events offered on campus.
Camila Pozo, a Global Living residential assistant, said that by attending football games and movie nights, residents can connect through shared experiences while also navigating regional and personal differences.
“Global Living is all [about] the unexpected things you'll learn from your roommate and neighbors, and building those worldwide connections,” Pozo said. “I've seen residents teach each other bits and pieces of their languages, slang [expressions] and sayings.”
The Global Living LLC also promotes social events outside campus grounds, as well, such as biking to the Texas Farmers Market and touring the State Capitol. Daniela Carlock, the manager for Living Learning Communities and Academic Initiatives for University Housing and Dining, said these events are especially important in helping students acclimate to the city of Austin.
“They make sure that their students not only are familiar with the UT campus but the surrounding area of Austin, as well,” Carlock said. “It’s a great opportunity for students to have a support system, make friends and get involved!”
Friendships that Radiate Across the World
Whether assisting international and U.S. students in the transition to life in college or navigating Austin, there’s no denying that Global Living helps students with one of the most important aspects of college life: making friends.
Since Global Living serves as a hub for friendships that radiate across the world, Stuart hopes for students to carry these connections beyond their time at UT Austin.
“Although students only live at Global LLC for a year or one semester, they will carry the friendships they made with them throughout college and into the rest of their lives,” Stuart said.
In 2024, Global Living will move its location to the Jester East Residential Hall. Students interested in joining the Global Living LLC can apply by indicating interest and completing a personal statement application on UT Austin’s housing portal. Find out more about the Global Living and Learning Community on the University Housing and Dining website.