EDITORIAL: More international students a good thing?
Last week, Central Michigan Life published a lengthy, in-depth piece about the challenges international students face when they arrive at Central Michigan University.
One student, Roberto Herrera Lopez from Mexico, arrived here without bedding, any Internet connection or a finalized place to stay. Another, Howell junior Samantha Borashko, admitted the university rarely gave her sufficient information to pick up international students from the airport.
And now, Emily Liu, a recruiter with the International Affairs office, said the university is working with the College of Graduate Studies to increase the number of international students from the 575 enrolled this semester. While that may sound fantastic on the surface — overall enrollment is expected to decline this year, so CMU will take tuition revenue from where ever it can get it — efforts should be made to improve the communication and efforts of the international office.
It is unacceptable for CMU to welcome international students without proper plans being made. But it would not be out of the ordinary for CMU to dive into something without fully considering the consequences. In the previous year, we have seen several buildings and projects (CMED, biosciences building and others) be continually pursued without the funds necessary or significant preparation.
It’s not enough to have a plan — it needs to be a well-thought out one. CMU’s track record in planning is that of a 12-year-old that wants to be an astronaut one day and a painter the next. How about instead of focusing on more money, CMU focuses its efforts somewhere worthwhile?
International students feel alienated because we, as a university, have not adequately prepared for their arrival. Maybe instead of taking an alcohol EDU course, students should take a course on cultural sensitivity.
Instead of treating international students as just another number and another opportunity to make revenue, CMU needs to start treating them as the people they are.
When freshmen and transfer students set foot on this campus for the first time, many of them from the state of Michigan, we coddle them and hold their hands until they feel secure and adapted to the college lifestyle.
We send them to orientation after orientation, we put them through Leadership Safari — which is essentially a giant summer camp full of affirmations and inspiration — and we make sure they know there are resources on this campus to help them through every step of the way, even though we all know mom and dad call every night before bed.
But, when someone comes to this campus from another country, we assume they’ll find their way around, figure out who’s picking them up from the airport, make their own friends, heck, even buy their own sheets and figure out their own housing! Right?
If we don’t truly care about these students, let’s stop pretending and focus our efforts elsewhere.
Come on, CMU. Let’s get our act together.
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