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We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we? Does this apply to international students?

By Alinoe Roussie, '22

International students have been a part of the Texas A&M University’s programs for almost as long as the campuses have existed, but their integration with the other students was and still is not very apparent. From the initial fear of the unknown to unintended isolation from the University itself, foreign students can have a hard time socializing which is a key element of university education.

Integration is jeopardized even before the school year begins. As freshmen, the New Student Conference (NSC) already isolates foreigners from their future peers. The International Student Services (ISS) man- dates international students to choose the last NSC scheduled, which is two days before salt camp. This not only limits contact with American / A & M culture and values, but it does so all through the first semester, if not during all of college education because course selection is heavily peer influenced.

Texas A&M University has a long history of graduating international students. Beginning with the first international student graduating in 1889, followed by other international students becoming heads of state in countries such as Bolivia and Panama. Overall, the success of international students has led to A&M having the interest of a global audience.

Although the records look great, encasing international students together and brute forcing traditions onto them hasn’t been an effective way for this school to share its values. What the ISS could do is first to truly understand how profoundly radical the change in educational system is. Adaptation to the latter is what will occupy students minds the most and socializing won’t be a priority. Except socializing is an important factor during tertiary education and therefore the ISS should facilitate this aspect as much as possible. The ISS should try to incorporate those students as much as possible through different means like encouraging an even allocation of international students to pre-existing NSC dates or mandatory Salt camp. The ISS could also give them the opportunity to meet fellow international students thanks to specific ethnic societies.

Internationals could become more confident and comfortable in any situation, alone or with a group of friends. Knowing they have the opportunity to meet people who share more than just a degree with them creates emotional stability which benefits both the student's college education and maturity.

I represent one of 120 nationalities at this university and though I believe it should matter when I meet new people, I should also be able to identify as a sea aggie and like most foreigners, I don’t.