The objective of Stony Brook University’s mission statement has always revolved around “celebrating diversity and positioning the University in the global community.” A simple glance at incoming students will prove that Stony Brook’s administration has directed greater effort toward promoting diversity by accepting more international students for the fall semester.
Many of these international students come from different corners of the world, usually as far away as India, China and South Korea. They have endured a grueling and tedious process of filling out college applications, sending test scores, polishing their English skills and submitting all the proper documents to study here. In the end, fortunately, they have managed to obtain a seat at Stony Brook University, and pursue their education alongside us.
International students have always been vibrant members of the student body, flowing in at gradually increasing rates with each passing year. However, this year, it seems that a tidal wave of international students have crash-landed onto the shores of Stony Brook. Though it may be overwhelming to take in so many international students at once, especially with a housing crisis in our midst, the rest of the university should see this as an opportunity to connect with them as they take their first steps as students in America.
Stony Brook’s administration should be applauded for incorporating more international students into the university, as it could not have chosen a better time to do so. It is evident that Stony Brook has not been spared from a trend of budgetary cut-backs sweeping throughout colleges across the country. As a result, the tuition has slightly increased tuition to accommodate for these losses. Yet, international students are expected to pay full tuition to cover their periods of study. Thus, the admission of international students at Stony Brook becomes a matter in which both sides win.
In exchange for providing international students with a comprehensive education, Stony Brook can collect vast tuition revenue. Aside from the economic latitude international students provide, their stay at Stony Brook will improve the university in more ways than one.
While international students spend their time adjusting culturally, they impart new perspectives that are invaluable to the university and community as a whole. As residents of the United States, it is unfortunate whenever we overlook the opportunity to meet and interact with someone who is not native to our country.
Being part of a diverse social circle will improve our outlooks of the world whenever we take the time to understand how other cultures clash or synchronize with our American customs. Through the acceptance of more international students, we can transform the rigidly American enclave of Stony Brook University into a colorful microcosm that is more representational of the real world. The interactions different students will have with each other will echo into their later years of life, beyond matriculation, when they encounter and cooperate with others who come from various walks of life.
After I spoke with some international students from South Korea in my writing class, a handful of them told me that they were inspired to attend Stony Brook because they were allured with the prestige of attending an American institution without the hassle of fierce competition for jobs in their native countries. However, they admitted that they were doubtful about their English reading and writing skills. There were even times when they were discouraged from applying for jobs because they were not confident in their abilities. Even though there are already workshops and resources available on campus to assist international students in surmounting these obstacles, American students should not be dissuaded from offering help.
If international students receive a boost in their morale to explore career opportunities during college, they will most likely remain in the United States to enter the workforce after they graduate. Since there are already countless international students in America seeking employment, the United States will experience major economic growth if these students choose to remain here after graduation to search for various job opportunities on the market.
Stony Brook’s administration should continue to recruit more international students from overseas. As the US counterparts to these newcomers, it is only fitting that we sustain our tradition of greeting them with a warm welcome. Much like ourselves, these international students were accepted because they have academic potential and will contribute something unique to our campus.
Eventually, the inclusion of more international students will inspire more changes in the student body that go beyond the scopes of race and ethnicity. Hopefully, the administration will look deeper into attracting students who range in race and ethnicity, as well as in sexual orientation, religion, career ambition and age.
Diversifying our student body will continue to push Stony Brook forward. The arrival of more international students will bring us closer to accomplishing this mission so as long as we remind them that our home is now their home too.