It is a widely accepted fact that USC has one of the most ethnically diverse student bodies because of high recruitment of international students.
USC has the most international students of any university in the country. These students allow the rest of the student body to be welcomed into a world of different cultures in an equally diverse city. The experience of being a student in such a melting pot of an institution is more than eye-opening.
In a nutshell, the benefits of internationalism outweigh the costs.
Yet, the perception that many international students seem to be tucked away in Parkside International Residential College is an unfortunate truth.
International students are left to integrate themselves into the community without much help from the administration. The university must set up cultural, academic and social programs aimed to integrate the domestic and international communities.
Although this kind of forced integration and interaction can oftentimes prove counterproductive to integration, it just might be what’s best for international students.
Parkside can quickly become a comfort zone for students who might feel overwhelmed by moving to a new country — students are often placed in apartments with those with whom they share similar interests.
International culture often flourishes at Parkside, but unfortunately does not include students who could benefit from experiencing the truly diverse student population at USC.
The argument that Parkside is a bubble is flawed as it could be that there is no bubble whatsoever — perhaps students simply aren’t interested
It seems as if the rest of the student body is content to let international students flourish in the southwest corner of campus.
It’s time that more students mingle with each other while still placing an emphasis on making international students feel comfortable and at home.
To promote cross-cultural mingling, Parkside should be more open to the rest of the student body. Parkside functions as a great community for international students to be surrounded by people who are going through similar experiences — being in a new country, on studying in a language that they might not be as comfortable with.
But the Parkside residences should make more of an effort as well by hosting more visible events on that corner of campus. Parkside puts on a variety of popular events, including the International House of Fashion, but why stop there?
Another avenue for fully integrating international students into USC culture would be to create a club that seeks to bridge the cultural disparities between the growing international presence and domestic Trojans.
Orientation sessions do not suffice, considering there is are separate sessions for international students.
Rather than this division, actively bringing international students and newly accepted students together can be a positive way to promote conversation.
Furthermore, the most important questions regarding international students are: What do they want? Do they feel as if they are being left out? And if so, what can we do to change that?
We can’t hope to know unless we do more to open the lines of conversation among the entirety of the student population.
Conversation is the most productive way in which to accommodate all students, and the university and the student body need to begin placing a heavier emphasis on tying together the various cultures at USC. Hosting open forums — sanctioned by USG — in Bovard Auditorium, would be a good start.
There are always more opportunities than we realize to understand the various cultures brought to USC’s campus, but it requires some work.
Perhaps events that showcase the cultures represented in Parkside would be a start toward gaining more understanding of the students that make up our student body, or even events that give a more nuanced understanding of American culture.
We need compromise and representation from both sides, for the benefits of doing so would lead to a greater understanding of the world, both within and outside the walls of USC campus.
Mellissa Linton is a sophomore majoring in English literature.