After a seemingly long struggle to be recognized as a legitimate group on campus, Columbia’s ISO (International Student Organization) finally appears to be getting the necessary attention and recognition it deserves.
As reported in the April 27 issue of The Chronicle, the organization has seen a steady increase in members within the past year, going from only four to five members last year to 30 this year.
While this is certainly a positive step for the organization—and for the college, since administrators claim that international recruitment has been a priority within recent years—a slight disappointment remains that it has taken so long for such a vital organization to get the recognition it deserves on campus.
Columbia has, no question, succeeded at making efforts to recruit international students. While it is commendable that our administration recognizes the importance of having these students on campus, the Student Organizations Council needs to work harder to connect with the ISO, making sure that international students’ transition to American culture goes smoothly.
The SOC needs to offer these students a place to connect with others who are in similar situations.
International students can face a great deal of challenges within academic life, such as language barriers, developing relationships with faculty and getting used to the differences in curriculum and classroom expectations.
Though international students only make up a small percentage of Columbia’s student body, it is crucial to realize that the dynamic that these students bring is vital to the college’s overall educational experience.
When students start to interact with people who come from a different background, they become more worldly and, in turn, start to look at themselves differently—something college is all about.
It is simply not enough to just have an office on campus for these students. By having international students become a part of our college community, we reap an endless amount of cultural benefits.
And judging by how long it has taken for these students to get official recognition on campus, it is due time that international students get the attention and necessary outlets to express themselves like all students should.