For many of you, this is your first time studying in a country different from your own. You probably have many questions, and the Cultural Immersion & Orientation Program aims to answer them and more.

Throughout the program, there will be various workshops and presentations from WPI faculty and staff that will help you to fully adjust and orient yourself to being a student at WPI. These workshops are designed to give you all of the skills you will need to be successful as you pursue your graduate degree, and to help you learn more about Worcester and American culture along the way.

Introduction to WPI

Welcome to WPI, your new home away from home. To help you discover all of the resources around campus, we have organized several programs for you to fully adjust and discover departments and people that can help you with any of your needs. Programs include a campus tour, a visit to the Fitness and Recreation Center and Gordon Library, and setting up your cellphone/laptop/tablet on the WPI wireless network. You will also have the opportunity to meet several members of the WPI community, both faculty and staff.

Living in Worcester

Congratulations on becoming a resident of Massachusetts! Now that you’ve arrived, what’s the next step? How do you find an apartment? How do you get around the city? What are some good safety tips? This program has been designed to help you fully adjust to your new city. We will have a presentation about finding off-campus housing in Worcester, what your rights are as a tenant and the relationship between a tenant and your landlord, and the types of utilities you will need. You will learn about transportation around Worcester, how to get to Boston and beyond, and ways to stay safe on campus and around the city. We will also discuss the process of getting a driver’s license in Massachusetts if you wish to drive during your time at WPI.

U.S. Grocery Shopping

Everywhere you go in the world, you will find different types of food that are native to that particular culture. Here in the U.S., you might discover various foods, fruits, vegetables, and meats you have never seen or have not cooked with before. This introduction to U.S. grocery shopping will help you better understand your options at an American supermarket and how Americans typically cook different types of food. We will end the presentation with a group trip to Price Chopper, a local grocery store where you can ask questions and discover new foods.

U.S. Table Manners Workshop

As graduate students, you will most likely be in a situation where you have to eat with others, either at a job interview, with your professor, or at a networking event. Do you know what to do with your napkin? Do you know which water glass is yours, and which is your neighbor’s? What is considered proper etiquette in the U.S.? This interactive workshop will teach you all you need to know to be successful and professional when eating with others. You can apply these new skills at the end of the presentation, when you will have a hands-on experience of eating a full meal with your peers.

American Academics

The classroom environment is different depending on which country you are in. Do you know what your professors expect from you? What is considered “cheating” at WPI, and how can it get you in trouble? You will be introduced to WPI’s Academic Honesty policy, learn what is considered “plagiarism,” and what happens if you are caught plagiarizing. We will show you the WPI systems you will use as a student, including Banner Web, TechSync, and more. You will also get to see what it is like in the American classroom, what the expectations are from you as the student, and what the culture is like. Be prepared to speak up in class with lots of questions, and to work on a lot of group projects.

Worcester Art Museum

The Worcester Art Museum is located only two blocks from WPI’s main campus and has over 35,000 paintings, sculptures, photos, drawings, and more in its collection. The pieces in the collection span over 5,000 years of art. Some of the museum’s artists on display include Monet, Goya, Cassatt, and Gauguin. The museum offers art classes for adults, and has a café and gift shop for visitors.

American English

You’ve been taking English classes for years, and now you are about to earn a graduate degree in a language that is most likely not your first. To help you make the most of your time in the U.S., we will introduce you to some useful skills that will help you throughout your graduate career. We will hold a workshop on American idioms to help you understand better when communicating with locals, and will show you the proper way to write an email in the U.S. We will also teach you what American small talk is, and how to introduce yourself and hold a conversation with someone you have just met. Before you know it, you will be full of all sorts of knowledge on American English skills.

Networking Workshop

Once you graduate, you will most likely be looking for a job. Even before you graduate, you may want to take advantage of a summer internship to expand your skills first-hand. Do you know the best way to build your network? The Career Development Center will host a networking workshop where you can practice ways to network with others and have conversations that could eventually lead to a job offer. After the session, you will have an opportunity to network with current graduate students to try out your new networking skills.