Campus program builds intercultural friendships

Trade Winds participants volunteer at the IMD Guest House.

Each semester, the Office of International Services recruits a group of UIC students to get to know each other and explore Chicago.

This easygoing, social program has lofty goals — to build intercultural friendship and cross-cultural understanding.

Trade Winds is one of the Office of International Services’s longest-running programs and aims to bring international students and U.S. students studying at UIC together in social contexts outside the classroom. Students are organized into small groups and given opportunities throughout the semester to interact and educate each other about their cultures, countries, perspectives and life experiences.

During the fall 2017 semester, more than 70 students participated in Trade Winds and gathered for program-sponsored events, such as an outing to the Mexican Museum of Art, volunteering at the IMD Guest House, attending a Goodman Theatre production, participating in a Chicago photo scavenger hunt, and more.

One U.S. student described Trade Winds as, “a great opportunity to provide perspective to how I see the world and to be more sensitive to other people’s cultures.” Commenting on how the experience will help in their career, one international student explained how Trade Winds is, “training for a future possible team working situation where understanding and listening is always more important, especially in such a globalized world.”

Recruitment for the spring 2018 cohort of Trade Winds is underway. The Office of International Services is looking for UIC undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in meeting people from other countries, expanding their cultural competency skills, and having a little fun along the way. More information and an online application can be found on the OIS website. The application deadline is Feb. 1.


The Office of International Services is a unit within the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Engagement. OIS’s mission is to support the international dimensions of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the medical branches in Peoria and Rockford. Questions or comments can be directed to OIS at or 312-996-3121.


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