Int’l. students are ‘ambassadors of their own’


Thomas Fairchild

Members of the college’s Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) represented their club at a booth at the Spring Club Fair on May 10. This year, the VSA catered an event and donated the proceeds to an orphanage.

Fai Al Dhukair, Staff Writer

Edmonds Community College is a welcoming environment for those who cross oceans to gain an education: International students.

For many international students adaptation is second nature.

They are chameleons in their environments, from knowing pop culture references to keeping up with politics. They manage to gain an understanding of a world beyond their home.

The Triton Review spoke with four of EdCC’s 1,500 international students about their experiences at the college: Jessie from Hong Kong, Valeriya from Russia, Shahad from Saudi Arabia, and Natalia from Colombia.

Typical answers included how they felt excited and nervous at first, but slowly integrated into the warm community Lynwood offers.

Many mentioned how easily friendships were formed with other international students simply because of their similar situations.

There was, however, a common concern.

They had hoped Americans would be a little more educated on the international students’ home countries – they had worked so hard to learn about American culture, only to find Americans seemingly disinterested in their own.

When asked, “Whose responsibility should it be?” they agreed unanimously that they were ambassadors of their own.

Then they started brainstorming: How can we create cultural exposure using ourselves as representatives? Different ideas flew around, but food and music – enjoyed by all cultures – came up a few times.

At the beginning of each Fall quarter, Edmonds Community College hosts a cross-cultural event. However, not many students decide to get involved.

It was suggested that they could recruit more people to make it sound more appealing, focusing on the benefits of local and international students meeting others from similar or different cultures.

It was agreed that it would be an enriching event for anyone; one student mentioned the opportunity for transfer students to strengthen their portfolio by participating.

Jessie, from Hong Kong, said Americans speak about traveling after school and exploring the world, without realizing “they could get a taste of incredible knowledge if they just asked the international students.”

Jessie shared stories about a close friendship with her roommate, a Seattle native who had never left the state and truly valued the information they shared and learned from one another. The two ended up spending a summer abroad together in Hong Kong!

International students don’t just travel around the world for an education: They also want to be an asset to the community and share their experiences.

I call on all international students at EdCC to collaborate with International Student Services to create educational about the world’s wonderful cultures and welcome infinite possibilities of friendship based on the celebration of diversity and acceptance.