Three hundred plus international students celebrated their diversity and culture at SLCC. An event called the International Opportunities Fair was held for students to learn about globally minded jobs and volunteer/learning programs in and outside the United States.
Jason Thornton, a SLCC student who works with the Thayne Center and many other community organizations, said “We need to promote the importance of international education.”
Through the joint efforts by many SLCC organizations, countries around the world such as India, Nepal, Germany, France, Ghana, South Africa, and Egypt were represented. Students from these respective countries along with many others, provided personal accounts of the standards and living and cultural backgrounds, to promote and inform Americans of their actual international lifestyles.
Global Artisans, the arts and crafts division of Refugee Pathway to Self Sufficiency, presented clothing knitted by refugees here in Utah. Each article of clothing, along with jewelry and other crafts purchased, goes back 100 percent to the refugee who made it. Refugees came to Utah from Nepal and other countries from Far East Asia. This cultural expression gives the artisans means to support their families and represented the deep their cultural roots.
“Americans need to have a global competency,” Thornton continued. “Students should open their minds to racial diversity…and get experience though studying abroad.”
An international student, who only identified himself as Dhaif, is from the Middle East. He represented the Muslim Student Association (MSA)
He discussed the importance of having an accurate outlook of his Muslim background.
“Al Qaeda does not represent Islam,” Dhaif said.
This misinterpretation of the Muslim faith has tainted the views of many Americans, while the beliefs of Islam are peaceful.
Organizations such as the Center of Cultural Interchange (CCI) and Fulbright provide grants for students like Dhaif, who can study abroad here in America.
The Future Leaders Exchange program of CCI is a grantee organization for the Department of State, which helps students have “enhancement activities” through an academic school that they are brought to America to stay. This program will teach students civic responsibility and give them knowledge concerning how to bring about positive initiatives in their own countries.
Neha Sharma is one such student visiting from New Delhi, India. She has been attending SLCC for about six months. She was selected through a series of interviews and comprehension in the English language to receive a grant from CCI as she learns about what she calls “American Culture.”
Located on the second floor of the Student Center is the Student Involvement Center, where international students can go to study and hang out with their friends.
“It’s a resource for students to feel accepted…and go to feel comfortable,” Thornton said.
“We want international students to feel comfortable in our country,” he concluded. “Students should know what it’s really like in other countries. We need to always find the good in people. The more learn about other cultures, the more we understand and become better people from it.”