Simpson International Rising
by Paulina Diaz
As Simpson University keeps rising, so does the number of international students. For a couple of years now, the school has been taking on the mission to bring more diversity to campus. Students from all around the world have become a part of the Simpson community, giving it the fresh start everyone was hoping for. This year, Simpson University has the most international students it has ever had. But every accomplishment comes with its own challenges.
As a lot of people might agree, college is a demanding experience. This is no different for international students, who struggle with their classes as second-language speakers. “The hardest thing for me about taking classes that are not in my first language was that I have to participate in class, it is really hard for me, I normally get nervous while I’m talking because I don’t want to make a mistake,” said Carolina Oropeza, a freshman student from Mexico.
Some students worry that they might not be getting enough help from their professors. Since the school is new to students who are second-language speakers, professors have had to make some adjustments to help them engage better.
Professor Mirek Woznica explained that he lets international students in his Oral Communication class express themselves in their first language. “I do allow them to show me their skills by speaking their own language [if they choose to] which some of them did and it was beautiful to see them on their natural way of speaking, but then they have to obviously say a speech in English,” Woznica said.
Another big concern among international students is the constant struggle to get around the city. Ariana Castañeda, a sophomore student from Tenerife, explained that the hardest thing for her is not having her own car. “I think the most complicated thing for me is having to constantly ask people for rides. Sometimes I feel like people get annoyed,” Castañeda said.
Some of Simpson’s staff members have made it their personal goal to help international students feel at home. They are providing resources for students like rides for grocery shopping, social gatherings, and other activities. Ruben Basurto, Financial Aid Specialist and member of Student Financial Services is part of a team that is trying to make sure international students feel more comfortable. “I am creating a group in which international students can rely on to take care of needs such as shopping while providing emotional support… We understand that being far away from home is a tough process, the more emotional support they have, the easier it is for them to adapt in this new culture,” Basurto said.
According to Oropeza, some international students rely heavily on their fellow American peers for help. American students try to give international students as much support as they can. Both students and professors agree that they love having so many international students on campus. “I love it, I absolutely love it especially in the writing or communication department because they communicate differently… it is more diverse,” Woznica said.
Despite the struggles and challenges, students, staff and professors have taken matters into their own hands to improve the Simpson community for international students.