International Students: Strengthening America’s Global Relationships
Over the past few years, universities in the United States of America (USA) have reported a sharp decline in the number of international student applicants due to the national political climate and fears for general safety within American society. Be that as it may, American universities have a lot to offer, and international students hold a vital role in America’s future in terms of international growth and development. This article aims to explore three of the primary benefits international students have to offer to American society.
1. Stronger relationships between America and other countries
In general, when people interact with individuals for whom they have preconceived stereotypes, they tend to breakdown their prejudices about them and develop the ability to have stronger relationships with other cultures. Instead of assuming they already know a person based on their nationality, they have the opportunity to learn about the individual and how they perceive their own culture. In a letter to the current Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, over 600 American university presidents reinforced that international students who have studied within America move on to be “ambassadors for American values, democracy and the free market”. When international students return to their home countries, they deconstruct the stereotypes of Americans by sharing their own positive experiences with American citizens. As a result, they improve the reputation for life in America, ultimately strengthening the relationship between the countries. In turn, this also increases national security as stronger bonds between citizens prompts governments to cooperate and act as allies instead of adversaries. At the end of the day, international students have a great impact in which makes the world a safer place.
2. The development of cultural agility
In today’s modern economy, global business often sends individuals from the workforce from country to country, forcing them to adapt to new cultures and customs. Oftentimes, American professionals experience discomfort and inefficiency in their work since many are not accustomed to adapting to new environments. Cultural agility, the ability to fully integrate into other nations seamlessly, is a skill that is valued by a growing list of employers across the world. In fact, in the 2015 Global Leadership Forecast developed by Development Dimensions International, 13,000 employees from 48 different nations ranked intercultural integration and communication as their weakest professional skills. However, when international students are able to bring their cultures towards Americans and vice versa, the relationships built between domestic and international students make it easier for everyone to relocate or visit other countries and avoid the mental strain of culture shock. As the American economy seeks to globalise its economy, having the college educated workforce gain experience in interacting with the world around them is becoming a luxury to employers and an invaluable skill for future career professionals.
3. The promotion of unity and inclusivity
As the United States is known for being a country that has a plethora of different cultures, having American students exposed to international experiences within their educational environment can serve as a benefit towards living, working, and learning within American society, especially for those who have not been introduced to much diversity in their home communities. Those who engage with international students are more likely to appreciate their cultures, and they may be prompted to view world history from a critical perspective and even be encouraged to learn a foreign language. Not only are such skills extremely useful for the workplace, it helps promote unity amongst Americans and American immigrants. Studies have also shown that Americans tend to reevaluate their life values to favour globalisation. Such shifts in American minds work towards an environment where everyone is able to collaborate and work productively in different areas of society such as education, industry and government.
International students’ place in American society should only grow as the world makes greater strides towards an international economy and society. If Americans do not want be left behind, it is time for them to increase their efforts to make everyone feel welcome – regardless of nationality.
Fortunately, universities are actively campaigning to make this message clear. With #YouAreWelcomeHere campaigns encouraging international students to apply to America and integrate into American culture for all its personal, professional and academic benefits, hope is getting stronger and America may very well stay on top of the race to a diverse, equal, and free society.
For international students themselves, they will get to see the benefit of the American life, and experience the rich culture, exciting opportunities, and academic prestige American university life has to offer. Whether they are studying within the big city of New York, or opting for a small, close-knit community college in Illinois, every American college community has a unique experience that can only be found in the US. Need help with your adventure to the United States? ApplyBoard is here to help. Please follow this link to learn about our application services and how we can get you to an amazing institution in America.
Dawson Phan, Marketing Assistant at ApplyBoard