BY: RACHEL FISH
Hwa hwa and hello! My name is Rachel Fish, and I am an international student from Myanmar (Burma). My major is Business Management and I am a junior.
CCU WHEN I ARRIVED
Coming to CCU, I was given the opportunity to learn a lot about the American culture and traditions through friends, professors, and events.
I remember the first international student dinner and get-together I went to hosted by former professor Steve Skaggs, which was held to welcome international students and give them an opportunity to connect with each other.
And it was at these events where my eyes would be opened to see how diverse CCU actually was and connect with people who were so different yet so similar to me. It gave me an opportunity to say hi to a familiar face and learn the amazing stories of these people.
There was also a car for international students, donated by a ministry called Valley of Baca, to get around easier, whether for grocery shopping or exploring the new city.
CCU does not currently have an international liaison, and international students are starting to become less connected with each other.
The international car is long gone, international dinners are no longer a thing, and I no longer know all the cool places where CCU international students are from.
“I love CCU and we claim to have a big focus on diversity and what not, but I think it’s too much on words and it’s not much on action,” said Senior Benji Reano Cuellar, originally from Colombia.
“If they were going to claim to be as diverse-focused, they should make a bigger effort to actually integrate the diverse groups on campus, with each other and with other people,” he added.
“I kind of had to do a lot of that myself. I get along very well with the international students, but it would have been great if I met them before.”
However, the recent addition of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force serves as a glimmer of hope of CCU’s efforts towards involving international students.
(see lead story in today’s issue)
WHAT WE CAN DO
Personally, I would have never been able to survive college if it were not for the people I have met during my time in the States. It sounds cliché, but it is true.
Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving: those were usually the seasons my homesickness would hit hard.
People would talk of seeing their families, going on trips with relatives, giving and receiving gifts from their loved ones; everything a student 8000 miles away from her family could not do.
I hope people realize that during those times, every time a person would offer an invitation to their house for dinner or a place to stay or even just a small lunch date, they were providing me not only company but a home, a friend, a family.
It is very meaningful to international students when people reach out to them. You are making your fellow students feel as much at home in the USA as you do.
So thank you for everything. Thank you for being home.