LETTER TO THE EDITOR: USC must address international student needs

Regarding the Monday Daily Trojan feature, “International Students: Living in Two Worlds,” I believe that it is time for the University to pay more attention to a quarter of the student body at one of the top schools for international students.

I am an alumnus living abroad, and have noted numerous disparities between USC’s advertisement of the international student experience and the reality.

One disparity seems to exist in the lack of scholarships offered to international students. Since 1995, there have been four Rhodes Scholars selected from USC. Two of them were international students. That is above the percentage of international students in the USC population, so international students have been carrying the school in this competition.

But a casual look at USC’s scholarship and financial aid page shows no information for Rhodes Scholar applicants from five of the top countries of origins, China, India, Canada, Germany and Hong Kong. There is no information on the Commonwealth Scholarship for Australian and Canadian Ph.D. applicants; the Chevening Scholarship for many, countries; and the prestigious Pierre Elliott Trudeau, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council scholarships and grants for students from Canada either. Our common goal at USC is academics, but not everyone is given the same path to success.

Finally — and this should be obvious to the University — there should be an internationalization of the academic environment, apart from its people. This may not mean pushing for an international core curriculum, but I would like to see students try.  But look at USC’s language offerings, which for a school that boasts one of the country’s largest international student populations, offers only 14 languages. There is no Cantonese offered for students wanting to learn more about Hong Kong. There is no Catalan for those inspired by the recent events in Spain. By contrast, UCLA offers language instruction in more than 49 languages, more than three times USC’s number.

In short, there is a lot of contradiction between the statistics and my experience.


Class of 2002

1 reply
  1. Lance
    Lance says:

    Excellent insight Gary because simply being an international student is difficult, on top of our already complex culture and language. Assimilation assistance must come from numerous sources to aid these young people embarking on their life’s journey. Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and even informative books to extend a cultural helping hand so we all have a win-win situation.
    An award-winning worldwide book/ebook that might be of help to anyone coming to the US is “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” Used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it identifies “foreigners” who became successful in the US and how they’ve contributed to our society, including students.
    A chapter on education explains how to be accepted to an American university and cope with a confusing new culture, friendship process and daunting classroom differences. Some stay after graduation. It has chapters that explain how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work with/for an American firm here or overseas.
    It also has chapters that identify the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.
    Good luck to all at USC or wherever you study or wherever you come from, because that is the TRUE spirit of the American PEOPLE, not a few in government who have the loudest voice!

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