Improve Your International Relations
How many students do you know who are not from the U.S.? If you can count them on the fingers of one hand or less, you could be missing out on one of the great experiences of college life.
Right now, ASU has more international students on campus than ever before (237), representing 29 countries on five continents. I guarantee you that they all have some interesting stories about growing up in what to us are foreign countries. Talk to some international students, and without even having to work at it you have expanded your cultural awareness.
Just think – international students can introduce you to new foods, drinks, music, sports and TV shows (because you know they are keeping up with their shows back home). After a few conversations, you might also know the differences in their countries’ school systems, shopping habits and night life. I bet they can even teach you some new party games.
You might also find out that you have a lot in common, despite your different upbringings. Before you know it, you’ll have to use more fingers to count your international friends.
Another important thing to know is that this will not just benefit you. Our international students have come a long way to a new place that is probably not much like their home. English may not be their native language. Many are also learning about new foods, drinks, music, sports and TV shows. Some are the only ones from their country at ASU. And I’m pretty sure none of them are prepared for San Angelo water!
So, just as you are learning from them, they will be learning from you – with the side benefit that they become more comfortable on campus and get to experience the West Texas hospitality we are famous for. International students have come to ASU to expand their cultural awareness, and that is a gift they can also give to you.
I was lucky. I grew up an Air Force brat and got to live and experience the culture in other states and foreign countries (and there may not be a more multicultural place on earth than a military base). I lived in England – and I still love fish and chips and Manchester United. I lived in Alaska – and I still like caribou sausage, skiing and ice hockey. International students may just be able to introduce you to some new things that you will enjoy the rest of your life.
Being around international students may also influence you to want to study abroad. ASU’s Center for International Studies would love to hear from you – whether you want to go for a summer session, semester or entire academic year. They have international scholarships that can help you pay for travel – and every student I ever talked to who studied abroad loved it.
College is not just about getting your degree. It is also about expanding your horizons as you map out your future. Our international students have made the huge commitment to come to West Texas, adapt to our unique way of doing things, and increase their cultural awareness as they progress toward graduation. I encourage you to meet as many of them as you can, for your benefit and theirs.
Who knows – by the time you leave ASU, your international friends may outnumber your fingers.