This archived article was written by: Kaina Elias
As an international student, I sometimes feel out of place living in the United States. Either in the middle of a conversation, where I do not understand some slang, or when I do not get the pop culture reference my friends are implying. I learned to live with that though, especially after 14 months living and interacting with Americans on a daily basis. Adaptation is the word my parents repeated endlessly before my flight took off and understand their concerns.
When a university accepts an international student, either at Utah State University Eastern or another university in the U.S, it incorporates diversity within its student body and in the community.
Exchange students learn a lot with the experience of studying abroad, but domestic students can learn as much, if not more, with international students on their campus. After all, saying that only the financial benefits an institution gets from a student from another country are a reason why many students like myself are in America, is too simplistic, if not ignorant.
It is no wonder why some of the top universities in the U.S accept international students with full ride scholarships. They are not getting anything financially from them. What are they seeking then? Talent, diversity – not just for the community, but different point of views and ideas, – you name it. The point is, you can find talented people throughout the world and there is no reason why their birthplace should be an impasse in anything at all.
Being from Latin America, I had the wrong impression about Americans. I have been taught throughout my life, mistakenly, that all Americans are the same egocentric people. And I apologize for coming here expecting that from most people. My experience in Price has been great so far and there is literally no complaint regarding my foreign-national status – besides scholarships opportunities, but that is a matter for another issue.
What I learned from my daily routine on American soil is that there is no such thing as the American stereotype. There are people. Human interaction is what makes the world what it is and honestly, after more than a year living with “strangers,” I can safely say that I still have hope in humanity. The proof is the awesome relationships international students can build with anyone at USUE campus. I am not talking only about me, but about students from Puerto Rico, France, Senegal, Russia, Congo, Italy, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, England, Chile, Argentina, etc.w
Bringing international students to its universities is a way the U.S. can achieve a more united world, even though there are other interests that goes along with it.
I am proud to be a Brazilian, that will never change, but I am also proud of being an Eagle and part of the international community that keeps growing within the U.S.
I have conversations where friends talk about their reasons why international students are important on campus. One told me that being an American or not, a successful alumnus will always add to the university, but international alumni can connect the university to farther places in the planet by “Globalizing” the university.
You can name benefits foreign students bring to this campus and can discuss them all day long. The feeling of community, though, with people from different cultures and backgrounds is the greatest one to me. I believe humanity still has hope, and besides all conflicts we face now and in the future, we can get along if we take the time to understand one another. International students keep adding to the U.S, their number keep growing as well as foreign workers in the U.S. workforce community and there is no wall that can stop that.