California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    More international student involvement needed at CLU

    According to Academic Adviser Loredana Carson, there is a concern of international graduate students, some coming from the California Lutheran University English Language Speakers Language Center and their lack of involvement on campus.

    Carson said this might be because some of these students don’t live on campus, but also because most of them talk with people solely from their home countries. 

    “Graduate classes are at night and undergraduate classes are more or less during the day. They’re not really plugged in to specific activities that are going  on campus. What they tend to do is cluster in their friend group and they don’t know really what they’re missing because they’re not unhappy,” Carson said.

    Carson said the international graduate students don’t interact with the undergraduate students on campus, so they may be missing out on the social exposure and the American lifestyle, while undergraduates are missing out on getting to know the students who come from different cultures. 

    “[American] students are going abroad and they’re going to have those great experiences. We have the reverse of that experience here. I never figured out a good way to connect the people who are here studying from another country with the people who are most interested in them, which would be the undergraduates,” Carson said.

    However Carson said that the problem is with international graduate students because domestic graduate students are busy working during the day whereas international graduate students have free time because they are here on student visas. 

    “We have students from all over the world. Is there anybody who would like to get to know them? Is there anybody who’d be willing to serve as a conversation practice partner with them? Because they need exposure to conversational English,” Carson said.

    According to the Cal Lutheran website, the Cal Lutheran student body represents 61 countries. One suggestion Carson had was that international graduate students and domestic students could meet at Starbucks to talk about what interests them and simply have conversations.

    Carson also said the School of Management holds Communication Café once per week with the residents of University Village. However, Carson said she believes it takes much more than one hour a week of conversation to learn a foreign language.

    “They get to hear English when they’re in the classroom, but they’re not talking the whole time they’re in the classroom. I think anybody that’s studying a foreign language likes to talk to people their own age, not just their professors, as interesting as we are,” Carson said.

    Previously, Carson said that she put some international graduate students in the Cal Lutheran Expressionists Toastmasters club where public speaking is emphasized. However, Carson said there is also a size issue as there are around 400 international graduate students, so she cannot fit all of them in one session.

    Carson said she believes they are a valuable resource for the school as people who are interested can learn about their cultures and give information on their home country if students would like to study abroad there.

    “Say a professor was teaching something on another country or culture. Even our Chinese teacher, I’ve talked to her like ‘why don’t you invite our students into the class to speak to your students that are learning Chinese?’ We’re committed to making global citizens. But, we have global citizens right here. Let’s get them to help us meet our goals,” Carson said.

    Karoline Johannessen, an undergraduate student from Norway, said she socializes mostly with American students because she did not move all the way from Norway to only speak to Norwegians.

    Johannessen said  she suggests American students and international students take time to make sure they understand each other.

    “I think that it is important, especially for the American student to be more open and understand that there is a whole different world outside of the U.S. and put themselves in the shoes of the international student that is very far from home and who is speaking their second or maybe third language,” Johannessen said in an email interview.

    Oceane Franc, an undergraduate student from France, said that sharing time with American students and exchange students is a good opportunity for her to improve her language skills and to meet people with different backgrounds and lifestyles.

    Franc offered suggestions on how domestic students and international students can better communicate with each other, including organizing small events off-campus.

    “I think that CLU could organize more events dedicated to the exchange students or include us more during important campus events,” Franc said. “The students involved in the organization of the event should better integrate us. For example, they should come to see us to invite us to participate. I would be more motivated to participate.”

    Leina Rayshouny
    Staff Writer
    Published April 13th, 2016