Creating a cross-cultural campus
As colleges look to create an educational and social environment that will contribute to developing global citizens they must also take responsibility to be intentional in their support of programming to encourage the cross-cultural growth of their students both domestic and international.
In order to be proactive colleges and universities must commit staff, money, and space to support a cross-cultural and inclusive campus. Programming for international student involvement on campus should focus on providing support and experiences to ease student adjustment and facilitate interactions with all members of the university community. To promote a diverse campus, program development must first identify a theoretical foundation that has supported other successful programs. In addition to addressing the developmental needs of college students the program should emphasize the value of the interaction of international students with both domestic students and faculty. In this paper a sample program will presented by honing in on the educational and social initiatives that will encourage understanding, adjustment, and learning about self through experiences and friendships.
Currently most universities actively recruit international students, in order to support their vision statement of having a community of global scholars. Mingled with the benefits of having international students on campus is also the responsibility to provide the international students appropriate support to facilitate their adjustment and inclusion. In addition to the normal changes for any student going to college, an international student may need support on the basics of living in a new country, lonliness, and the need to be included. Without these needs being met international students are more likely to want to return home or act out. While services may be in place, and domestic students may know how to navigate the system, international students may need something extra and universities must commit to meeting those needs.
Addressing the adjustment issues of college students can be influenced by intentional programming and opportunities to increase knowledge, understanding and skills that will support the students at home, work, and as global citizens.
- Theoretical Base
Basing the program development on Gordon Allport’s contact hypothesis the program is intended to promote interactions that will allow for commonalities to be discovered and friendships to grow. Participants, domestic and international students, having a shared goal of meeting and learning about other cultures will benefit from the planned events. Additionally, opportunities to express and develop personal and social identity in a safe environment would be applicable for all students involved, both domestic and international. Social Identity Theory (SIT) applied in this framework will encourage the development of all students and will also result in building the type of community that universities’ are committed to.
- Sample Program
The proposed program would include creating opportunities for social interactions for students through mentoring, and social experiences. Practical support should also be available for navigating the administrative side of college and the basics of cafeterias and grocery stores that offer varieties and social norms that may be new to the international student. Programs that are culturally inclusive: talent shows, fashion shows, cultural food festivals benefit both the international and domestic student and the campus as a whole.
Developing a program focused on the adjustment and retention of international students by utilizing current domestic and international students provides an opportunity to encourage interactions and support the development of personal and social identity. The result of this type of program aids the students’ adjustment, their satisfaction with the experience and the universities ability to declare the scope of their global vision and cross-cultural interactions. The results of this program will also support the university financially and extend a loyal alumni base. Cross-cultural programs can benefit every aspect of the university and should become a staple of the programs options available.
Andrade, M., & Evans, N. (2009). International students: strengthening a critical resource. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/pensu/detail.action?docID=466684
Burkhardt, J.W. (2013). A qualitative study of undergraduate international students’ everyday experiences with cross-cultural interactions and the student adjustment process (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Northeastern University, Boston, MA. Retrieved from https://repository.library.northeastern.edu/files/neu:1081/fulltext.pdf
Glass, C., Wongtrirat, R., Buus, S., & Aw, F. (2015). International student engagement: strategies for creating inclusive, connected, and purposeful campus environments. Retrieved from http://sk8es4mc2l.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info%3Asid%2Fsummon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info%3Aofi%2Ffmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Abook&rft.genre=book&rft.title=International+Student+Engagement&rft.au=Glass%2C+Chris+R&rft.au=Buus%2C+Stephanie&rft.au=Wongtrirat%2C+Rachawan&rft.date=2015-03-01&rft.pub=Stylus+Publishing&rft.externalDocID=11170673¶mdict=en-US
Zhang, J., & Goodson, P. (2011). Predictors of international students’ psychosocial adjustment to life in the United States: A systematic review. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(2), 139-162. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/science/article/pii/S0147176710001288