Slippery Rock University is home to numerous international students who live on campus, all coming from a number of different countries across the globe.
In the United States, we’ve become accustomed to our own holiday traditions. In most American households, you’ll see a Christmas tree, Christmas lights, nativity sets and other Christmas related items. On occasion, one will come across a Jewish family who is celebrating Hanukkah, and instead of finding a Christmas tree you’ll find a menorah featuring eight candles that are lit to celebrate the different days of the eight-day holiday.
The fact is, there is an entire world full of people from different places who live in different cultures, and each of them may celebrate the holiday season very similarly or differently. It is important to recognize these differences while understanding and celebrating them. SRU has just over 120 international students on its campus, with 60 of those international students involved with the Internations Club. The Internations Club focuses on sharing the cultures of its international students in a wide variety of ways such as events, booths during common hour and its popular International Dinner, which takes place annually in the fall semester during SRU Internations Week.
SRU’s international students come from a wide variety of different countries including India, Germany and China. SRU should partner with its Internations Club to create an event or a series of events where each international student on campus has the opportunity to share their variation of the holiday with other students on campus. The easiest time to do so would be during Tuesday and Thursday common hours when the quad and Smith Student Center are full of people, and the international students who are partaking in the event are able to pull in passing students and teach them about their cultures.
With SRU being a state university, it’s connected to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). PASSHE universities thrive on their pull for international students and put a lot of effort in recruiting international students from a wide variety of countries.
Since PASSHE schools such as SRU rely on attracting prospective international students, it should be a priority for Slippery Rock Univeristy to make these students feel like they’re at home while attending and visiting the campus.
These state universities put so much time in the recruitment, they should feel obligated to put just as much time in making international students feel comfortable while they’re here, especially during the holiday season when homesickness could be kicking in.
As students, we should take advantage of the opportunity of being able to interact with different students from cultures around the world. It’s important to recognize the differences in cultures, but after recognizing these differences, we can focus on our similarities.