The opening of the residence halls in January is an exciting time for staff and students. While most of our students arrive back at campus a few days before classes, there is one group of students who often arrive a few weeks before most students, specifically our international students. Working with students other nations can present some challenges; however, after more than ten years working with international students, I am confident any challenges are far outweighed by the opportunity having a strong and diverse population of international students brings to our residence halls.
The nations in red on the world map reflect all the nations of the worldwhere a student currently living in our residence hall identifies as their home country. As you can see the diversity of students covers all, but one of the continents (does anyone really call Antarctica their home?). In total each year we have approximately 150 students from other nations living in our residence halls. It is impossible to list all the interactions that occur between students in a residential community and I am thankful we have students from across the globe that enriches the residential experience at Southeast Missouri State University.
I am a strong supporter of the central role the classroom experience for all college or university students. While I believe the classroom and role of faculty are the center of the educational experience, I also am a strong believer that the outside the classroom experience has significant educational benefits for students. As our world grows increasingly smaller, the ability to remain apart from it grows more difficult. The first-hand experience of socializing, working, and living with people different from you can be uncomfortable, but it is also critical to be fully able to interact in our global community.
The approximately 3,000 students who live on campus are (IMHO) among the most engaged students at Southeast. I believe the on campus experience is only enriched by the diverse and strong presence of students from other communities, both domestic and international. These types of interactions with others are one of the things that makes college different from high school. Their experiences are also part of what helps move you from a college student to a professional with a college degree.