UO’s international cultural service program connects international students virtually

While deciding where to go to college, Grigorii Malakhov looked at cost, program options, and locations – he never expected he would have to take a pandemic into account.

Grigorii Malakhov poses for a photo.
Grigorii Malakhov, a first-year international student at UO, in his home country of Russia. Photo credit Grigorii Malakhov.

While deciding where to go to college, Grigorii Malakhov looked at cost, program options, and locations – he never expected he would have to take a pandemic into account. Malakhov, who is originally from Russia, is concluding his first year of studies at UO. He plans to study Computer Science, but he’s also thinking about the pre-med track.

Malakhov has enjoyed international experiences in his life prior to studying at UO. He attended high school in Italy and currently lives in Poland, and through these travels, he’s discovered a passion for global experiences. During his final year of high school, Malakhov only applied to one college in the United States: the University of Oregon.

After learning that he had received a scholarship from UO’s International Cultural Service Program, he instantly decided to enroll. Students involved with ICSP provide valuable cross-cultural exchange opportunities for the UO and the local community through sharing their experiences. Multi-talented, enthusiastic and specially trained UO international students are able to share their culture with Eugene-Springfield schools and community groups. 

Although he is not in Eugene yet, Malakhov feels nothing but anticipation when thinking about moving to Oregon. From his previous high school experience in Italy and current residence in Poland, he understands the international experience well. “I was always excited to come to UO. I’m still excited, because I know what that experience brings,” Malakhov said. 

Although COVID-19 can create a feeling of isolation, Malakhov has found virtual friendship with his fellow international peers.

“I’ve met other international students, not just from the ICSP group, but also just by taking some classes,” he said. “I also participated in the Global Leadership Challenge, and there I was able to meet a lot of other interesting students.”

Malakhov has also found support in upperclassmen in the ICSP community. Octavio Elias De Lima, a fourth-year student from Brazil majoring in Economics and minoring in Information Technology, has provided Malakhov with virtual support this year. Although the two live on opposite sides of the world, they have connected via Zoom and Facebook Messenger to chat about college life and other resources around the university.

De Lima takes pride in being able to interact with diverse and high-achieving students from around the world – he also shares financial resources from C.U.R.E. and the Dean of Students, as well as summer opportunities at PPIA-JSI and the MIT Summer Research Program.

ICSP has provided Malakhov with resources and relationships he feels have been integral to his college experience, “Having a group of people who have been ready to help us from the beginning, who are upperclassmen, has been amazing,” he said.

For De Lima, living in Eugene offers plenty of things to do without the stress of a big city. Looking to next year, Malakhov hopes to travel to campus and see face to face both De Lima and the greater ICSP community. 


By Alyson Johnston, University Communications