The Parthenon

Let Me Be Frank: On International Students

Franklin+with+friends+at+the+New+River+Gorge%2C+Long+Point+Trail%2C+on+Bridge+Day
Franklin with friends at the New River Gorge, Long Point Trail, on Bridge Day

Franklin with friends at the New River Gorge, Long Point Trail, on Bridge Day

Franklin with friends at the New River Gorge, Long Point Trail, on Bridge Day

Franklin Norton, Social Media Manager

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It was a couple of months ago, and I was driving my car, dropping some friends off at their homes. Just as friends do, we were talking, laughing and sharing about our lives. But there was a single moment where I kind of suspended myself from the conversation and realized how strange this car must have looked: a Ugandan in the backseat, an Indian in the passenger seat, and a West Virginian behind the wheel.

The college experience is a time to learn and be educated, not just in the classroom. It’s a time to learn how the real world works, a time to learn new ideas and a time to explore new ideas. It’s also a time where we form relationships with others, and we learn some of life’s greatest lessons from these relationships as well. One of the most incredible opportunities we have on a college campus is to meet and connect with other students from all over the world, without even buying a plane ticket.

In this past semester, my world has been opened up in a variety of ways. I made friends from different countries, different languages and different cultures, and my life is richer because of it. A study conducted by Elisabeth Gareis, Ed.D. out of Baruch College/City University of New York found that around 40 percent of international students report not having any close American friends. There’s another statistic floating around that says about 75 percent of international students will never enter an American home. This is such a shame! Let’s open our eyes, our homes and our hearts to these amazing people with so much to give. They may not look like me, but we do have one thing in common: we’re all human.

This weekend is the International Festival at the student center. I’ll be there, and I encourage anybody else to be there, too. Learn about another culture, and maybe meet some really great new friends.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Let Me Be Frank: On International Students”

  1. Lance Johnson on November 4th, 2017 12:45 pm

    Excellent advice because simply being an international student is difficult, on top of our already complex culture and language. Assimilation assistance must come from numerous sources to aid these young people embarking on their life’s journey. Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and even informative books to extend a cultural helping hand so we all have a win-win situation.
    An award-winning worldwide book/ebook that might be of help to anyone coming to the US is “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” Used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it identifies “foreigners” who became successful in the US and how they’ve contributed to our society, including students.
    A chapter on education explains how to be accepted to an American university and cope with a confusing new culture, friendship process and daunting classroom differences. Some stay after graduation. It has chapters that explain how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work with/for an American firm here or overseas.
    It also has chapters that identify the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.
    Good luck to all wherever you study or wherever you come from, because that is the TRUE spirit of the American PEOPLE, not a few in government who have the loudest voice!

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