Foreign exchange students bring world to campus
Traveling can be far too expensive—especially for full-time college students. Tickets to desirable destinations, such as locations in Europe or Asia, can cost upwards of $ 1,000—and that’s just the airfare.
Lodging, food and other activities can make the price tag of traveling much too steep for a college student who needs to look through couch cushions just to find coffee money.
It can be done, of course. Fortunately, many schools provide opportunities for students to go outside the country.
However, for some, including myself, journeying the world will have to wait a while, but this doesn’t mean that other cultures aren’t available for exploration.
If you’re not able to travel abroad for some time, and Google Earth isn’t cutting it for you, there’s another way.
At Linfield, and most other universities, we are lucky enough to have access to vessels full of information about foreign cultures: people. They provide us with way more information and insight than a Wikipedia search or a book can.
This semester, I am fortunate to be living with an exchange student from Norway. Before meeting her, I knew very little about the country.
Every day, I ask her questions about the customs in Norway and find that she is very willing to answer all of them. I am exposed to a new language, new music, foods, clothing and customs every time we talk.
“Last year I lived with a student from Tibet and learned a lot about where he came from, as well as China’s oppression on his homeland. He also helped me with my Chinese,” sophomore Brian Hoover said. “It was a great experience.”
Interacting with students from different countries can provide us with interesting perspectives about our own culture.
In our family and groups of friends, we don’t often talk or question the culture we are all familiar with.
Dialogue with exchange students can challenge our thinking about things that we normally hardly give a second thought.
With many exchange students from all around the map on campus, there are plenty of opportunities to interact.
Linfield has work study jobs that allow you to work with international students, as well as hosts culture weeks and multicultural receptions and other events that allow you to experience a different culture.
Studying abroad is an amazing experience—everyone should be given the opportunity to do so.
However, students shouldn’t limit their ability to learn about a foreign country to studying abroad.
There are countless sources of information from around the world right on campus: your peers.