Ambassadors Program lets all students build relationships and learn



The ambassadors gather together before the school year begins in order to prepare to introduce international students to high school.

Moving to a new school is challenging enough. Adding a new country, language and culture on top of that can make the transition even more strenuous. The ambassadors program is there to help.

The ambassadors program relieves uncertainty and provides a safety net for new international students by recruiting upperclassmen to guide the new students through their transition to the high school.

The program began six years ago as a way to offer support to international students and is run by advisers Elizabeth Davis and Katy Frost.

The ambassadors program releases an application every year offering students an opportunity to form connections with international students and help guide them through school.

Current senior ambassador Teo Dimov found out about the program through an email sent out the summer of his senior year. Dimov said he applied to offer resources to new students.

“I’ve noticed how little effort it takes to bring someone into the community. I knew that I could do something super minimal and still make them feel so much more welcome,” Dimov said.

Davis said the program is best suited for upperclassmen who are passionate about the community and aiding new students.

“We are looking for ambassadors who are open-minded and open-hearted, who are interested in all things international and in being a welcoming presence to our community,” Davis said.

Every ambassador goes through a training program in late summer to learn and prepare for the year ahead. The program pairs each ambassador with one or two new students. The matching is determined by a set of questions that each student and ambassador fill out. Using these questions, the advisers create matches based on common interests.

The relationship between the student and ambassadors begins before the start of the school year. From pumpkin carving to playing Uno, the program offers a warm welcome into the community. There are events and social gatherings to foster natural relationships between the ambassadors and students.

Ambassadors and international students gather together in a classroom to participate in bonding games and activities. (CONTRIBUTED BY MAZZY GALLENTINE)

Nemira Lal, a junior and international student, said the activities and games are very entertaining and often get competitive.

“Even with a variety of different backgrounds and cultures, people can still be together and have fun,” Lal said.

According to junior Alise Vivre, an international student from Latvia, the relationship has been helpful in the transition.

“I’ve talked to my ambassador quite a lot, and we’ve had lunch a few times. It’s definitely been great to have such a person that I can go talk to at any moment,” Vivre said.

Dimov said that the program has allowed him to connect with others in a unique way.

“I do think that I’ve definitely made some connections. I have friends right now who I don’t think would be my friends if I wasn’t part of the program,” Dimov said.

The ambassadors program has gotten praise from families and parents because it allows kids to ease into a new social environment. Vivre said they have learned a lot from being in the program and made friendships along the way.

“I’ve definitely learned more about people from other countries as I’ve talked to quite a few international students now. I’ve definitely improved my social skills, having to make new friends and get used to a surrounding of people I don’t know at all,” Vivre added.

Dimov said he realized what some students rarely think about.

“When we walk down the hallways, and we see somebody we know, it feels comforting seeing all your friends, even acquaintances,” he said. “For a new kid, there’s none of that. It feels very lonely. It’s something we take for granted, and so we should give that opportunity to others.”