International students enhance campus life; Trump Administration making pernicious decisions that express no regard for multiculturalism or diversity
One of the reasons that I love our community at North Cross is because of our thriving international program. Students flock from across the world to attend school in Roanoke, Virginia! This is incredible and often undervalued.
Freshman year, I had the opportunity to play tennis and take classes with Summer Zhang. Oftentimes, we would grab food downtown on the weekends or FaceTime and study for Human Geo. Through our friendship, I learned more about life in China, and she encouraged me to begin studying Mandarin. I have also had the opportunity to run track with Euan Spikers, an Australian student who loved sharing aspects of his culture.
Last summer, I counseled camps for Chinese students who got a taste of American life. While they experienced what our Virginian world was like through cultural activities, I got a better glimpse into Chinese life. We made dumplings, played ping-pong, got ice cream, hiked, and so much more.
I also made some great friends this past year as Tammie and Hannah came to the States from Vietnam. I got to hear Tammie sing as Olivia Murchison '21 played guitar downtown in the dorms. I also found out much more about Vietnamese culture through a presentation during the school year.
This is not to boast about these internationalist experiences, but rather to say that North Cross's commitment to education is not limited to Roanoke. Our international scope is what I treasure. If I had not met people from around the world, I would not be the same person. I doubt that I would have the same passion that I do for global studies, and I do not think that I would have delved into journalism, linguistics, or Model UN either.
Trump's newest policies, though seemingly just pertinent to colleges and universities across the country, will have real implications even on our campus. Fortunately, since we are offering in-person instruction, students from across the globe can partake in classes in some capacity. However, it will not be the same at all since international students (if participating in distance learning) cannot play sports, perform in musicals, or embrace extracurricular life.
I sincerely hope that we will be able to invite all of our international students back to campus this fall. After all, without their presence, NCS is predominately white and American. I loved how learning at NCS was not just confined to the classroom, but also personal exchanges with students from across the globe.