Tag Archives: diversity

Student reflects on unique, diverse culture

A Linfield French and international relations double major will be recanting her experiences acquired during a junior year spent studying abroad in Marseille, France.

In a talk titled, “Marseille: a City of Contradictions,” senior Katherine Thomas will describe her own experiences by illustrating the cultural uniqueness of the city in which she spent a year of her schooling career.


All photos courtesy of Katherine Thomas
Senior Katherine Thomas poses at Notre Dame de la Garde, which is an old basilica that overlooks Marseille.

Marseille is the second largest city in France following Paris.

It is located on the southeast coast of France at the virtual crossroads of several culturally prominent French regions.

The city is also home to France’s largest commercial port.

Thomas spent nine months in Marseilles.

“I lived right smack in the middle of Marseille. [I was] five minutes walking distance from everything [and] it was great,” Thomas wrote in an email.

Thomas was hosted by Marie-Paule, 52. Though she lived alone in her apartment before hosting Thomas, Marie-Paulie had two children who visited her often.

Marseille is known as a melting pot of cultures.

The city situated at a virtual crossroads of several distinct flavors of French culture in the south.


Senior Katherine Thomas stands on a cliff off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea near a small town called La Ciotat.

The city of Marseille also draws from a variety of other Francophone cultures from around the world.

“In terms of personal growth I’d say that being a foreigner for an extended amount of time opens your eyes to what judgment and empathy really means,” Thomas wrote.

“I realized how quick people—including myself —can be to judge and overlook someone’s own personal struggles or situations and how quick people are to make assumptions and form conclusions while knowing very little about something or someone,” Thomas wrote.

Thomas has shared her observations on this trend with several friends who have studied abroad.

Her friends also confessed to noticing this human tendency, she said.

“Being abroad for [a year] made me realize [my empathy shortcomings] and really made me strive to be as understanding and empathetic as I can possibly be, even when I dislike something or someone,” Thomas wrote.

Thomas will touch on the uniqueness of Marseille’s multi-cultural identity.


A view of Notre Dame de la Garde near the Old Port. Thomas studied abroad in France during her junior year.

She will also touch on the implications of this multi-cultural identity on both the societal and political climates of the city over time.

“My experience changed my life in so many ways. I feel like it is one of my biggest accomplishments because I successfully integrated, or more or less assimilated, into another culture,” Thomas wrote.

“Marseille: a City of Contradictions” will begin at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in Jonasson Hall.

Ryan Morgan / Senior reporter

Ryan Morgan can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.

Diversity comes into focus through advisory committee

President Thomas Hellie has created an advisory com- mittee for diversity with the hopes of increasing diversity on campus, both in the stu- dent body and in the faculty and staff.

“Linfield’s diversity is growing,” Hellie said.

This year’s freshman class is 33 percent students of color, which is one percent higher than the last year’s freshmen class, according to Hellie.

“We have a much more diverse student body than we did even five years ago,” Hellie said. “But I wanted to get a group of interested and talented people together to help us think about how we as college embrace diversity.”

The committee is made up of 17 students, staff and faculty. Hellie gathered members from all parts of Linfield and included members from the Portland Campus, the Office of Human Resources, Facilities and Grounds, the Office of Financial Aid, the Office of Student Affairs, faculty and the student body. The group is working on coming up with ways to not only increase diversity but also to help build a community that attracts diversity.

“It is not enough to just invite people to join us as students,” Hellie said. “We also need to think about what it means to us as a whole community to become different than we once were.”

After discussing the issue of diversity in last year’s strategic planning meeting, Hellie announced his plans for the formation of this committee.

“It really is just a think tank for me right now,” Hellie said.

It is the job of the committee to look at issues of diversity at Linfield and “ask questions on how it can be more welcoming to Americans of color.”

Before tackling the issue of what needs to be done, the committee has worked on cataloging what the college already does toward the issue of diversity.

“It’s quite an impressive list that has been forming,” Hellie said. “We have things like the Hispanic Heritage Day and the Luau, which are pretty public. Then there are courses that are being offered and recruitment that is happening and student outreach. And a lot of people don’t know that.”

The committee is also looking at what other colleges are doing to address this issue, hoping to take and use some of their strategies to increase diversity.

Another topic the committee is looking into is how to make Linfield more attractive to a diverse employee base.

“It’s easier to transform diversity in the student body, because they’re only here four or five years,” Hellie said. “Whereas the people we hire here are normally here for several years. Trying to create and add more diversity to the faculty and staff would take more time, but none the less, we want to start to explore ways in which we can make it more attractive for people of all different backgrounds.”

Kaylyn Peterson
Copy Chief

Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at linfieldreviewcopy@gmail.com.