About the Program
The International Student Ambassadors program is overseen by the UCLA Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars. International Student Ambassadors are UCLA students that use their own cultural backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge to support the UCLA community. Selected Ambassadors undergo an application, interview, and training process. The Ambassadors serve on one of five specialized committees where they work on quarterly or year-long projects. Through their work, the Ambassadors work to amplify the visibility, voices, and contributions of the entire UCLA international community.
Some ways that members of the UCLA community can connect with the International Student Ambassadors include:
- Incoming students and scholars may contact Ambassadors to ask about life on the UCLA campus
- International students and scholars may contact Ambassadors to connect with someone from their home country/region/culture
- Domestic students may reach out to an Ambassador with questions before studying abroad in their home country
- Staff and faculty may reach out to request Ambassador participation in panels, orientations, events, etc.
- Attend one of the quarterly events hosted by the Ambassadors to bring the entire UCLA community together and connect across cultures
Ask the International Student Ambassadors!
The UCLA International Student Ambassadors can respond directly to the questions you submit through this form. You will receive an email with a response to your question within 3-5 business days.
Ambassadors will use their own experiences and campus knowledge to answer questions about:
- Student life
- Campus resources
- What it's like to transition to life in the U.S., in Los Angeles, and at UCLA
- Their experiences living outside of the U.S. and in their home country
- Differences between U.S. culture and the culture in their home country
Staff and Faculty can submit requests for Ambassador participation in:
- Q & A sessions
- and more
Questions Ambassadors can NOT answer include:
- Anything visa or immigration-related
- Anything about accessing iSTART (online international orientation)
- General Dashew Center programming questions
- You are encouraged to reach out directly to Dashew Center with these questions. You can find our full contact list here: https://internationalcenter.ucla.edu/contact-us
The form is open! Please reach out to get in touch with the 2023 - 2024 Ambassadors.
International Student Ambassador applications for the '23 - '24 academic year are now closed.
How do I apply? Applications for International Student Ambassadors for the 2023 - 2024 academic year are closed.
COVID-19 Adjustments: Adjustments to the program may be made in accordance with UCLA guidelines. Ambassadors are expected to be flexible and work to adapt accordingly if the program structure must change. All changes will be communicated to Ambassadors as soon as information becomes available.
- Open to all currently enrolled UCLA students who have spent 3+ years living in a country other than the U.S.
- Must have completed at least three quarters at UCLA by the end of the 2022 - 2023 academic year.
- Must be an enrolled student for the 2023 - 2024 academic year.
- Ability to display initiative and self-directed leadership.
- Must value working in a diverse and team-oriented group.
- Have a strong interest in developing cross-cultural relationships and advocating on behalf of the international students at UCLA.
- Ambassadors are selected based on their application as well as an interview process.
The committees for the 2023 - 2024 academic year are as follows:
1. Graduate Student Interests Committee
2. Student Wellness Committee
3. International Student Advocacy Committee
4. Campus Outreach & Inclusion Committee
5. Our Voice Committee
The deadline to submit this application is Sunday, April 16th by 11:59 PM PT (Week 3, Spring 2023). Interviews will occur between April 24th and May 12th. For inquiries, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please review the FAQs and ensure you are able to meet all International Student Ambassador Expectations below before applying.
- What is the duration of the Ambassador position? June 2023 - June 2024
- What is the weekly time commitment? Approximately 1 - 5 hours per week
- I'm currently an international, third culture/TCK, first year, grad, transfer, and/or out-of-state student, can I apply? Yes!
- What do you look for in Ambassador applicants? We look for students who have experience and/or interest in expanding their management experience, event planning skills, cultural sensitivity and empathy, intercultural communication competence, technical skills, professional development and more. Candidates should be interested in being a resource to campus and helping to advocate for the needs of the international community.
- Is this a paid position? The'23 - '24 cohort of International Student Ambassadors will receive a $400 stipend in the fall quarter for their contributions.
- What else should I know before applying? Ensure you can meet all Ambassador expectations below before applying.
International Student Ambassador Expectations:
- Dedicate one year to the International Student Ambassador Program (June 2023 - June 2024). The summer commitments will be minimal and virtual.
- Attend the mandatory New Ambassador Meeting on Tuesday, June 6th, 6:00 - 7:30 PM PT, Week 10 of Spring Quarter 2023.
- Attend the mandatory Summer Online Orientation on Friday, September 8th, 6:00 - 7:30 AM PT.
- Participate in the mandatory Ambassador Leadership Training in person on Saturday, September 30th, 10 AM - 5 PM.
- Attend in-person All-Program Ambassador meetings twice every quarter.
- Attend the Ambassadors Coffee & Chat (Fall Meet & Greet) on Tuesday, October 24th, 11:30 AM - 1 PM.
- Attendbi-weekly Committee meetings either online or in-person during the academic year.
- Actively serve on one Ambassador Committee.
- Respond to communication within 72 hours.
- Participate at Dashew Center's Fall Welcome Events.
- Attend the quarterly Ambassador event.
- Attend a minimum of two Dashew Center events per quarter as an Ambassador.
- Maintain involvement and communication with cultural/country-associated student groups on campus.
- Serve on panels, interviews, focus groups and media projects for the campus and community at-large.
- Assist with outreach and other special projects as needed.
- Application Deadline: Week 3 - Sunday, April 16th, 11:59 PM PT
- Candidate Interviews: April 24th - May 12th
- New Ambassador Meeting:Week 10 - Tuesday, June 6th, 6:00 - 7:30 PM, Dashew Center Board Room
- Summer Online Orientation: Friday, September 8th, 6:00 - 7:30 AM PT
- Ambassador Leadership Training: Week 1 - Saturday, September 30th, 10:00 AM - 5 PM, on-campus location TBD
Meet the 23-24 Ambassadors!
Home: London, UK & Karachi, Pakistan
Major: Political Science & Business Economics
Hobbies/Interests: I am an avid reader and writer. I really enjoy writing about current affairs and philosophy. I also play squash in my free time. I have e a considerable interest in all sorts of teas and exploring their variations around the world.
Bio: Hi! I'm Rida and the places I call home are Karachi and London (also LA now!). I am currently a sophomore with a keen interest in politics and global affairs. Although I have moved across continents before, it didn't make the move to LA any easier. That said, I have been lucky to come across some lovely people and equally amazing experiences in LA. I always say that Karachi and London have made me who I am today, and I have no doubts that I will say the same about LA after my time here. Please feel free to contact me about anything at all, whether it be a question about my major, or just to say hi. I look forward to getting to know you and hope everyone has a fantastic year!
Home: Harare, Zimbabwe/ Lusaka, Zambia/ Delhi, India
Major: Computer Science
Hobbies/Interests: Tennis, Golf, Chess, Gym, Music, Adventure and Exploring
Bio: Hey! My name is Rit and I have lived in Zimbabwe for all my life. I was born in India and don't get fooled by my home country. I am most definitely also Indian and I have not lost my roots and values. I love traveling and I have visited several countries. Ask me where :) I love hanging out with my friends and trying new things. I think the most important part of a home is people and the connection you have with them and I am glad to call UCLA my home for this reason. Feel free to talk to me about making it yours, because there is nothing I would prefer more!
Home: Syria & Lebanon
Major: Pre-Human Biology and Society
Hobbies/Interests: photography/ listening to music/ watching movies
Bio: Hello :) I'm Lana, I lived in Damascus Syria for 8 years and 11 years in Beirut Lebanon. I love photography and really enjoy listening to music of all kinds! I am also a big film and TV person! I love to explore all parts of LA and try all the amazing food options! Moving across the world to attend UCLA was a hard decision but i know that it was the right one, as I have been able to make a surrounding for myself that supports and pushes me towards my goals! If you have any questions about being an international freshman at UCLA or if you have any good movie, music, or restaurant recommendations please don't hesitate to reach out :)
Martín González Cabello
Home: Madrid, Spain
Degree: PhD Operations Management
Hobbies/Interests: Before I had kids I used to travel a lot. I love reading and I really enjoy music and play videogames. Also I am a huge Real Madrid fan.
Bio: I’m a PhD student at the Decisions, Operations and Technology Management department at Anderson School of Management. Prior to joining UCLA I lived in Chile where I was working at a healthcare company but I also lived in New York, Boston, Riyadh, Rio de Janeiro, Medellin, Chicago among other cities. I am married and I have two kids: Carlota who is 5 years old and Martin who is 3.
Home: Nagpur, Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore (India)
Major: MS Electrical and Computer Engineering
Hobbies/Interests: Artisan Coffee, Dancing, Running, Traveling, Learning Languages
Bio: Hey! I'm Janak and I grew up in various cities across India. I'm here to pursue a master's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as explore what life has to offer in a place away from home! While it is a bold decision to move here, I believe in making the best out of it by developing a strong sense of community and enjoying the little moments. I enjoy learning about new cultures and languages so please feel free to reach out to me to teach me something about yours or learn a bit about mine!
Emilia Barriga Cortez
Home: Quito, Ecuador & Lima, Peru
Hobbies/Interests: Drinking good coffee, reading, traveling, going to the beach
Bio: Hi!! My name is Emilia Barriga Cortez. I was born in Quito, Ecuador, and I’ve also lived in New York and Lima, Peru. Going to UCLA was one of the hardest and best decisions as it allowed me to meet new people and explore many of my interests. Living in various countries allowed me to understand the struggles and anxieties of moving abroad. I have grown to love my time at UCLA and meet many amazing people that share my common interests and goals! Please reach out if you have any questions or need advice!
Home: Saigon, Vietnam
Major: Communications (major) Digital Humanities (minor)
Hobbies/Interests: Languages, Food, Singing, Making friendship bracelets
Bio: Hey there! I'm Phương Uyên but my friends call me Caroline Doan and I'm from Vietnam. I'm a proud Bruin with a passion for food and languages. Before coming to the States, I spoke Vietnamese and Japanese because I went to Japanese-speaking middle school and high school. Along the way, I've picked up a bit of Korean and Chinese too! With my cousins being chefs, I've been lucky to explore countless culinary delights in both LA and OC county. To improve my English skills, I joined the Speech and Debate team and ranked 3rd at the national championship! Life's an exciting journey, and I'm thrilled to share it with all of you! If you're interested in Vietnamese culture, or food and language in general, feel free to hmu <3
Home: Istanbul, Turkey
Major: Business Economics
Hobbies/Interests: Traveling, Playing volleyball, Trying new cuisines
Bio: Hi! My name is Defne and I have lived in Istanbul, Turkey for 18 years until I decided to attend college in the US which is what brought me to UCLA. I love traveling to new places, meeting new people and learning about different cultures. In my first year I found that I could combine all of these passions of mine by joining student clubs on campus and being involved with a variety of events within them. I recognize that being an international student could be daunting and isolating at first however I believe that given the necessary support and resources, this campus and hopefully LA would become a second home. I am more than happy and excited to provide support, answer any questions that you may have or talk about all things Turkish culture and cuisine!
Wanning (Winnie) He
Home: Shenzhen, China
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy everything related to art, especially photography, painting, drawing and design. I also love watching anime, cooking, learning new instruments, and playing with my cat🐱!
Bio: Hey people, this is Winnie. I was born and raised in Shenzhen, China. Having spent most of my life in this lovely metropolitan city before moving to LA for college, I have experienced the best of both places. However, being an international student presents challenges to my cultural identity especially given the current political climate. As a rising sophomore, I am confident that I can help smoothen the experience of freshmen's orientation process through connect with them culturally. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!
Yara Abi Karam
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hobbies/Interests: Travel, music, tennis, reading, watching TV shows
Bio: Hi! My name is Yara Abi Karam and I'm a third-year Mechanical Engineering major. I grew up in Lebanon and speak English, French, and Arabic fluently. I love traveling, listening to music (especially attending concerts), going on road-trips, and discussing TV shows/movies. Moving to a different country on your own definitely comes with challenges, but UCLA offers many resources that will make it a lot easier, the Dashew Center being one of them. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions but also if you just want to hang out or try some Lebanese food ;)
Home: Tibet & India
Major: Community Health Sciences
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, Pencil Sketching, traveling, and listening to music
Bio: Hi! I am Tenzin and I am a second year PhD student at the Fielding School of Public Health. I am a Tibetan by origin but I was born and raised in India. I am trilingual, fluent in Tibetan, English, and Hindi. Having pursued my Master's degree as well as continuing to pursue my Doctoral degree in the United States, I understand the challenges and triumphs that international students experience while studying abroad. Therefore, as an international student ambassador, I am happy to connect with fellow international students to help make the most out of this academic journey. Feel free to get in touch :)
Home: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Major: Political Science, Middle Eastern Studies (minor)
Hobbies/Interests: Tennis, reading, speciality coffee, niche perfumery and visiting museums!
Bio: Hey everyone! My name is Salma, I'm from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I'm a rising senior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Middle Eastern Studies. I was born in and spent some time in England, so I have some experience with adapting to a change in location, and I'd be happy to help you gain your footing here at UCLA! Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions and concerns, or just to try some Arabic coffee!
Seohyun (Sydney) Min
Home: Suwon & Seoul, South Korea
Major: Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Hobbies/Interests: Cooking Korean food, walking my dog, going on picnics with friends, catching sunsets, late night gym sessions!
Bio: Hi, I'm Sydney or you can call me by my Korean name Seohyun! I was born in Seoul, South Korea, spent 5 years of my childhood in São Paulo, Brazil, but the place I call home is Suwon, South Korea. I went to an IB international school for my entire life before coming to UCLA, and I'm a MCDB major on the pre-dental track. While moving thousands of miles alone for college was frightening at first, I’m more than grateful for the people I’ve met and experiences I’ve made so far. If there’s any questions I can answer, please feel free to reach out :)
Home: Almaty, Kazakhstan
Major: Business Economics, Digital Humanities (minor)
Hobbies/Interests: Photography, traveling, drinking matcha/tea, and watching crime TV shows
Bio: Hello, my name is Jane, and I was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan! I've lived my entire life in that beautiful mountainous city, and the best part about living in Almaty is undoubtedly the abundance of cafés and restaurants. I probably dine out almost every day, and it's so refreshing to stay and chat for hours with my family and friends! I understand that there aren't many Kazakh students at UCLA, which is why I applied to be the Ambassador of Kazakhstan, so I can help you with anything from adaptation to professional matters. Feel free to contact me if you want to chat about college life or just hang out!
Home: Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
Majors: Neuroscience, Psychology
Hobbies/Interests: Photography, Poetry, Psychology, Exploring new places
Bio: Hello hello! My name’s Akshata and I’ve lived in a beautiful state of Odisha all my life. I love clicking pictures of everything, trying new cuisines, going on midnight walks, and of course meeting new people! I’ve always loved working with people on subjects I deeply feel for, and coming from such a diverse country has brought with it exposure, appreciation, and great interest in learning about cultures and various ways of living that people around the world have. For me, coming to UCLA had its challenges, but it’s as fun as you make it. The transition can feel overwhelming at times, and it may take a toll on you in several ways, but I want you to know that there are several resources that can help, and I’m here every step of the way if you ever need someone to talk to!
Home: Hong Kong
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hobbies/Interests: Football, Guitar, Languages
Bio: Hi everyone, I’m Matthias (or just Mat)! I’m Korean but was born and raised in Hong Kong. I am currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. In my free time, I love watching and playing football (soccer), taking pictures, playing the guitar or bass, and learning languages. With Hong Kong being extremely different to LA in terms of culture and environment, I’ve experienced lots of adaptation and shocks, and would be more than happy to share my experiences with you or help you with your own transition to UCLA. Whether you’d like to chat about Hong Kong, class planning, or the best food spots in LA, feel free to reach out at any time!
Home: Seoul, South Korea
Major: Business Economics (major), Accounting (minor)
Hobbies/Interests: boxing, dancing, journaling, watching k-drama, eating
Bio: Hi! I'm Shannon, a rising senior studying business economics and accounting. I love the Korean culture I was born and raised in, and I am eager to help the Korean community and culture at UCLA thrive. Whether it is dancing to K-pop, enjoying Korean food at K-town, or teaching my friends the Korean language, I am proud of the large Korean culture here at Los Angeles and our UCLA campus. I also love to meet new people and will do my best to help you, so please feel free to reach out!
Home: Cairo, Egypt
Hobbies/Interests: I love going to concerts, coffee runs around LA, reading, movies, matcha and meeting new people!
Bio: Hi everyone, my name is Sohila (or Sue, if thats easier) and I was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. I went to a British School, so moving to UCLA was quite the change for me. Adapting to a new lifestyle and culture can be challenging at first, but it can be made a lot easier by talking to someone who can relate! I am here to support all international students on campus, so if you need absolutely anything like if you want to hang out or need academic advice, I am always glad to help! Feel free to reach out to me at any time!
Home: Bangkok, Thailand
Major: Aerospace Engineering
Hobbies/Interests: Exercising, finding places to eat with friends, and Badminton
Bio: Hi everyone! My name is Varun Saketharam. I am Thai-Indian but was born and raised in Thailand. I am a rising senior studying Aerospace Engineering. I usually like to go to the gym, play badminton and hang out with friends as ways to destress from school work. As an international student, I understand that stress does not necessarily always come from school work but also often from homesickness and culture difference from home country. I understand that it is very easy to feel disconnected and burned out so definitely feel free to reach out if you want to discuss anything culture-related and UCLA-related or simply want to hang out. I would be more than happy to talk about anything , answer any questions you may have and form connections with new people.
Mona Abdul Samad
Home: Beirut, Lebanon & Manama, Bahrain
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy playing the piano, tennis as well as dancing. I love traveling, meeting new people and discovering LA!
Bio: Hey everyone! My name is Mona, I am French educated Lebanese, and have lived in Bahrain for 6 years. I am a rising senior on a premed track, and am looking forward to making it a memorable year with you all! Deciding to attend UCLA was a huge step of change for me and it was the best decision I could have made! I would love to be here for you and support you to make this place your home too! Feel free to reach out about any questions you have whether it is about classes to take, being premed, extracurricular activities to try or recommendations for places to visit!
Home: Kharkiv, Ukraine
Major: Computer Science, Asian Language (Chinese minor)
Hobbies/Interests: Cooking, climbing, teaching, reading, politics
Bio: Hello everyone! I'm from Ukraine and I'm very excited to get to know you all! I spent amazing two years at UCLA, and more than happy to help you navigate international learning experience in the US. In my free time, I love teaching and help my peers make first steps in competitive programming through ACM ICPC. Apart from academics, I enjoy rock-climbing and currently challenging myself to go beyond V5s! Feel free to ask me anything about classes, social and cultural life at UCLA!
Home: Tianjin, China
Degree: PhD in Molecular Biology
Hobbies/Interests: Swimming and dancing
Bio: Hi there! My name is Angela and I was born and raised in China. I came to UCLA for my Undergrad degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, and stayed on to pursue a PhD in Molecular Biology. I study transplantation immunology for my thesis, and I love swimming, dancing and eating great food during my spare time. Outside UCLA, I also serve as an officer for non-profit organizations Graduate Women in Sciences (GWIS) - LA Chapter and Bioscience Connections-LA. I'm here to support students of all backgrounds and at different stages of their academic journeys, from first-year undergrads to PhD candidates. Feel free to reach out to me!
Home: Beirut, Lebanon
Major: Economics & International Development Studies
Hobbies/Interests: Writing, traveling, reading novels, skiing, going to the gym, and shopping!
Bio: Hey! My name is Tracy Tawil, I am a third-year student majoring in Economics and International Development Studies. I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, and am deeply attached to my home country. For this reason, I understand the hardships that come with moving to a new country and exiting your comfort zone, so reach out to me whenever you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or alone. My native language is Arabic, but I am also fluent in English and French. For fun, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, watching movies, going on long walks, reading novels, and searching for Lebanese restaurants in Los Angeles! The transition from one country to another is not easy, so do not hesitate to reach out to me for guidance or advice! Attending UCLA is the opportunity of a lifetime and I hope I can help you enjoy every second of it while staying connected to your home country <3
Home: Zhejiang, China
Major: Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics; Food Study (minor)
Hobbies/Interests: Spending time traveling, hanging out with friends, go to the movies, watch sunset by the beach, baking
Bio: Hi my friends! My name is Grace and I'm representing my hometown, Zhejiang, China. I was born in China, but moved to Temecula, California for middle school, and stayed in north California since then. In my free time, I like to travel, baking, and discover coffee shops by myself or with my friends. I know it is difficult to leave your home and travel all the way to a foreign country, but please remember there is always someone (like us ambassadors) who are willing to help and hangout with you! Enjoy this riveting college experience, and together, let us embark on a journey of dialogue, collaboration, and mutual learning, transcending borders and embracing the diversity that unites us as global citizens.
Home: Shijiazhuang, China
Major: Cognitive Science; Film, Television, and Digital Media (minor)
Hobbies/Interests: Dancing, movies, music, photography
Bio: Hi everyone! My name is Arianna and I was born in Shijiazhuang, a city in northern China. I went to an international high school in Costa Rica, so I know what it feels like to live in a different, diverse environment. If you have any questions or just wanna hang out, please don't hesitate to reach out to me! I'm excited to meet you <3
Home: Brisbane, Australia; Shanghai, China
Major: Political Science, French (minor)
Hobbies/Interests: Tennis, fitness, reading, cats, Chinese calligraphy, dance
Bio: I am a sophomore majoring in Political Science. I am excited to be part of the international ambassadors program and meet new students. I enjoy doing fitness and practicing Chinese calligraphy.
Campus Outreach & Inclusion Committee
-Goal: Connect with the campus community through social media, marketing, and outreach!
-Sample Projects: Create social media content, create an active culture-based clubs and organization database, promote events.
-Members: Caroline Doan, Defne Gulser, Wanning He, Sydney Min, Matthias Park, Sohila Rizk
Graduate Student Committee
-Goal: Promote engagement and interaction among the international graduate student community!
-Sample Projects: UCLA After-Hours events, on-campus socials.
-Members: Janak Chadha, Martin Gonzalez Cabello, Tenzin Khando, Angela Sun
International Student Advocacy Committee
-Goal: Advocate for programs and services to support UCLA international students!
-Sample Projects: Collect and present student testimonials, plan town hall with USAC International Student Representative Office.
-Members: Yara Abi Karam, Salma Malaikah, Shannon Park, Tracy Tawil, Grace Wu
Student Wellness Committee
-Goal: Improve the holistic wellness of international students!
-Sample Projects: Co-program a workshop with another campus organization/department, create a Health & Wellness resource document.
-Members: Rida Abbas, Lana Alashkar, Emilia Barriga Cortez, Akshata Panda, Illia Shkirko, Chanel Zong
Our Voice Committee
-Goal: Promote Ambassador engagement within the group and with students, as well as the development of Ambassadors within the program!
-Sample Projects: Organize internal bonding and social activities for Ambassadors, create professional development opportunities for Ambassadors, plan Ambassador Meet & Greet events.
-Members: Mona Abdul Samad, Rit Agarwal, Jane Mukhametkhan, Varun Saketharam, Arianna Zhao