OPINION | International unit houses opportunity, chances for exchange

In the fall of 2012, Butler  University students may be able to experience foreign cultures, live among those who speak different languages and not even have to leave the comfort of Butler’s campus.

Next year, 20 domestic students could have a chance to live with 20 international students in a new unit in Residential College.

This international unit would be a great opportunity for both domestic and foreign students to absorb new ideas,  take in  new cultures and expand their point of view.

What is the root of all stereotypes?  Ignorance.

How does someone keep from being ignorant and, therefore, keep from believing stereotypes?  He or she educates him or herself about things that they are ignorant about.

Living with students from foreign nations can educate those who do not understand cultures outside the United States. In turn they would dispell stereotypes.

Hillary Zorman, the associate director of international student services office and self proclaimed “go-to girl” for international students, said that she hopes that the new unit will help foreign students become better acclimated to the Butler culture.

Zorman makes a good point.

Domestic and foreign students living together would make the language barrier less difficult for a foreign student.

Faculty members can only do so much to help with adjustment.

Zorman said finding students to live in such a unit would not be difficult since volunteer applicants for the Diversity Ambassadors for the International Orientation had to be turned away.

So Butler students, when looking for a place to live next year, sign up to live in ResCo’s international students unit.

With a vast majority of Butler students hailing from the Midwest, if you walk up to a stranger and ask if he or she is a pharmacy major from the Chicago area, there is a good chance you would be right about one of the two.

Among a group of geologically similar people, international students are a splash of colorful ideas, concepts and cultures.

Such diversity not only helps broaden cultural horizons.

It is exciting to hear an international accent while walking to class or sitting in Starbucks.

Butler student Stephen Rooney advises living with international students.

“You’re going to get a good experience with it,” he said. “You’ll learn a lot about places in the world that you’ve never been and you’ll probably never get a chance to visit.  It’s a chance to become more cultured.”

Rooney’s roommate Sam O’Neill is a New Zealand native who plays tennis for Butler.

O’Neill has also lived in Indonesia, Australia and Germany.

O’Neill said that studying in America has been a fun experience, but he was surprised to find that some Americans could not even point out New Zealand on a map.

Perhaps he can help them find it.

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