The VCPP Orientation 2012 was held on April 3, 2012 in the Reves Room. About 40 students attended the orientation. The project leader, Jingzhu Zhang, gave a brief introduction to how this idea came alive with the support from the various departments at W&M. She gave special thanks to Dr. Judi Harris, her advisor from the School of Education, for her continuous support in forming the program. Dr. Kulick from the Modern Language Department of Arts and Sciences also helped tremendously during the planning and implementation process. Both Graduate Center for Arts and Sciences and the Reves Center have provided unlimited support.

After the program introduction, Cortney Cain from the Graduate Center for Arts and Sciences talked about how to be a good conversation partner based on her experiences working with face-to-face conversation partners.

Eva Wong, the international student and scholar advisor from the Reves Center, offered some very practical suggestions on do’s and don’ts when interacting with international students. She also provided handouts with resources and contact information related to some common questions from international students.

Two American students from the face-to-face conversation partner program, Aaron Levin and Kevin Mahoney, talked about their individual experiences being conversation partners. Their candid descriptions offered the new virtual conversation partners some ideas of what to expect and how to handle the unexpected.

At the end of the orientation, the director of ISSP, Steve Sechrist, from the Reves Center, gave a wonderful closing remark, thanking all the participants for their enthusiasm and wishing everyone a rewarding intercultural experience.