It is apparent every day that our world is interconnected and interdependent. Tomorrow’s citizens will need a sophisticated understanding of other societies and their ways of thinking, and of the transnational challenges facing us all. Students at all levels of education need access to information about world issues—and about the ways people in other societies approach these issues—in order to become productive members of the world community. They need opportunities that can help deepen skills related to working with people who are different from themselves. These opportunities include time to talk with, listen to, and learn from people from other cultural and national backgrounds, access to study materials about other parts of the world and other cultural perspectives on the global issues of the day, and chances to see first-hand how people in other countries live, learn, and engage with the world.
University and college campuses across the United States enroll students and invite scholars from around the world. These students and scholars contribute perspectives from their home cultures and education systems to the courses and research in which they are involved, and serve as a valuable resource to U.S. students interested in learning about the world. Members of the community can create a welcoming atmosphere for these students and scholars who are far from home and family, and share with them the diverse cultures of the United States. Bonds between visiting students and scholars and their host communities provide opportunities for learning on both sides and opportunities for long-lasting international friendships.
The Top 7 Ways To Welcome International Students To Your Community
- Get in touch with college and university offices that support international students and scholars to discuss programs they offer to help students and scholars learn about the local community and build friendships and how you might become involved.
- Create and disseminate a listing of community services events and opportunities so that international students, scholars, and their families know how to connect to these resources and can consider serving as volunteers.
- Volunteer for a host family/friendship program at a local college or university, so that you can meet international students and scholars and give them a window into U.S. culture.
- Introduce international students and scholars to recent alumni working in your area who can serve as mentors on how to navigate U.S. higher education and make progress in their chosen career path.
- Invite international students and scholars to programs related to historical or cultural landmarks in your community.
- Share information about art, music and theater opportunities in your community with a local college and university international students and scholars office. Offer to provide transportation to and from arts events. Visiting international artists may be of special interest to particular groups on campus.
- Increase your understanding of the economic value that international students and their families bring to your community by checking out the specific impact data available on NAFSA’s website at www.nafsa.org/economicvalue.