University lags behind students’ efforts to integrate international students

Tulane’s mission statement expresses a desire to be inclusive of students of all nationalities with its “continual aspiration to be a truly distinctive international university.” The university staff and administration, however, should make more intentional effort to incorporate international students into the larger Tulane community.

During the March 3 Undergraduate Student Government meeting, Sydney Berger, vice president of the A.B. Freeman School of Business student government, announced that members of the business school government would participate in a mentorship program to help international business school students acclimate to campus and the city. The Tulane International Society created the Language of Love Panel, another program meant to promote discussion between the international community and the rest of campus.

In addition, the Baptist Collegiate Ministry hosts a weekly event called the International Conversation Hour, during which students discuss New Orleans culture and American customs relevant at the time. None of these events, however, were sponsored by or are actively advertised by the Tulane administration. The university staff and administration need to publicize events that might benefit international students trying to adjust to life in New Orleans.

Experience American Tastes, a program that allows international students, faculty and staff to dine in Tulane students’ homes is limited to upperclassmen. EAT is not well-known outside of the international community, either, which means it draws in a limited pool of American students.

The administration does not make enough of an effort to truly integrate international students into the Tulane community at large, and students are forced to foster that interaction themselves. While student organizations’ effort is inspiring, these efforts should be supported more whole-heartedly by the administration. To increase the integration of the two, the administration should expand programs like EAT to include undergraduate students living in on-campus residences, publicize events like EAT and create more inclusive programs for international students if it wants to meet its standard as a distinguished international institution.