One of ASU’s greatest strengths as an institution is its large population of international students and faculty who hail from places as diverse as the individuals themselves, from Malaysia to Kazakhstan to Taiwan.
All told, ASU students represent more than 150 different countries. In a time when the U.S. is seen in international circles as awash in cultural ignorance and insensitivity, we should endeavor to think globally from the perspective of our fellow students and our international faculty.
Diversity is an important element of a university education, and we are incredibly fortunate to have international students who can provide us with crucial perspectives on foreign and domestic events.
As students, many of us don’t have adequate funds to travel to foreign countries or study abroad, but we are able to interact with people from other cultures here at home. It’s good to engage and to provide a sense of community and bonding among our fellow students.
College is often the first real exposure students have to a wider world. We can learn much from interactions with new people whose experiences are so different from our own — a new language, a new religion or a new recipe.
ASU’s American English and Culture Program offers a unique opportunity for both international and domestic students to brush up on their conversation skills in a casual social context. Native English speakers can help non-native learners understand conversational English outside the context of a classroom. Various fellowship programs can also allow us to interact with leading international thinkers
Formal instruction is always good and is obviously the point of a university in the first place, but sometimes learning is best done outside the classroom, to reinforce and apply crucial concepts in the real-world setting.
Many of us will go on to careers that require speaking a second language. In addition to foreign language skills, cultural literacy is vital to understanding those from other countries. Building peer-to-peer connections between cultural groups is a great way to develop that cultural understanding.
International students strengthen our community, our sports teams and our individual lives. Taking classes about other cultures can broaden our horizons and introduce us to new opportunities, at home and abroad.
More than anything else, college teaches us that we have much to learn from each other and provides us with the chance to do so.
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