Multicultural Immigrant Student Program

 Program Information

A Little Bit of History
In 1982, Undergraduate Affairs established the Immigrant Student Program to address, in part, the issues and recommendations from previous reports. A continued survey of the research showed that the lack of appropriate English language preparation is limiting Asian immigrant and refugee students. Immigrant student graduates are locked in entry level positions, despite their technical skills and training.

Due to the fiscal crisis and the corresponding budget cutbacks in higher education, ISP experienced a period of decline in late 1980s at a time when immigrant student steadily increased. ISP and immigrant student issues were submerged as the issues of diversity and multiculturalism gain great attention against the political backdrop of the movement to jettison affirmative action.

Today, the Immigrant Student Program (now known as the Multicultural Immigrant Student Program) in collaboration with other student life units on campus to address these issues and to develop programs and activities that meet the changing needs of students from immigrant and refugee backgrounds. In addition, the Immigrant Student Issues Coalition, sponsored by MISP, meets regularly to discuss various issues and collaborative methods to help smoothen the transition to university life and heighten awareness for immigrant and refugee students to UC Berkeley. Because students have traditionally played a primary role in organizing its programs and activities, MISP welcomes student who would like to get involved as interns or event volunteers.

In recent years, the immigrant student population has increased dramatically: the Office of Student Research reported in 1999 that 25.1% of the entering students (freshman and transfers) were from immigrant backgrounds. Through its preliminary work with immigrant students, ISP has identified a variety of issues that serve as the focus of its work:

  • Making cultural transition to campus life
  • Improving writing skills
  • Accessing student services
  • Improving intergenerational communication within the family
  • Selecting an academic major
  • Choosing a career direction
  • Overcoming “marginality”

Our activities include: 

  • Welcome orientation
  • Panel Discussions
  • Networking Activities
  • Annual Alumni and Student Reunion
  • Symposium Series
  • Bag Luncheons
  • Orientation Decal Course