The Culture and Language Immersion program (CLI) is a 5-day course designed to help international students be better prepared for life in Durham and Fuqua in particular. Moreover, it gives MMSers the opportunity to examine and practice their English and business communication skills. This is the reason that it starts a week prior to orientation and program launch. As an international student, I attended and was truly reimbursed in full for my participation.

The first positive thing I noticed while being in the program is the combination of MMSers and first-year Daytime MBA students. I had the opportunity to create a network of contacts even before the first day of class. I encountered students that are team-oriented and eager to learn. Although I am generally described as an introverted person, I was encouraged to engage into conversations with people I never met before and exchange not only views about the program, but also experiences from my personal background. It was a great step towards adjusting to the new reality of being a student in this team environment.

Iosif - CLI nametents
Name tents awaited MMS and MBA students at the beginning of CLI

Also, be prepared to add dozens of new contacts on your cell phone. You will see so many new faces that are going to be a part of your Fuqua experience for the whole year. It is ok if you do not remember all the names with your first interaction. I introduced myself for a second time to many other students, and I am definitely not the only one to do so. Besides, my last name is a difficult one to pronounce so for me in particular, it was not a limitation; it was an ice-breaker.

At this point you’re not very familiar with campus, but do not worry if you get lost looking for the proper place to be. Just ask the first person you encounter. Everyone is friendly and they will help you find your way. Also, do not worry about food during CLI. Lunch is provided for the whole week at the R. David Thomas Center, which is a really nice dining option at Fuqua. You also get to have a tutor (a faculty member involved in the course) join your table; this really helps to strengthen the bonds inside our community.

It is also made clear what the Fuqua community expects from you and what you should expect from them. This is mostly summarized in the honor code which states that the school “is a community of scholars and learners, committed to the principles of honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, and respect for others.” There are introductory guidelines that will help you adjust your behavior inside Fuqua, as well as realize the importance of the Fuqua brand, which is a significant asset for the future.

In the CLI program, you will get to practice your communications skills in front of an audience; and multiple times indeed. Although this might sound intimidating, it is actually really fun. You will have the chance to talk about who you are and also exchange feedback with others. This type of public speaking will benefit you in a way you never imagined before. It will also prepare you for Business Communication 1, which is one of the three courses taught during your first term in MMS. In addition, your composition skills are tested through timed writing exercises and you get to work on real-life case studies, as the program is structured to be more practical than theoretical.

About the teachers and instructors, I only have positive things to say. They are very easy to reach out to and provide assistance and feedback throughout the duration of CLI. One can say that they play a crucial role in establishing the very first bonds of #TeamFuqua.

To conclude, the whole week was well worth attending. I learned new things, met new people, got better prepared for the start of the program, and most importantly, had lots of fun. It is the best “welcome” for international students and I am happy that I was part of it. It is an experience not to be missed.