The International Student Services Office is making plans for an international living unit next semester in ResCo, according to the office’s associate director.
The unit would potentially feature 20 international students and 20 domestic students and the hope is that this arrangement will better integrate international students into the Butler culture.
“I feel peers have the ability to introduce them into the Butler culture,” Hillary Zorman, associate director of international student services, said. “The staff can only do so much.”
International students would live with a domestic student to better help the integration process.
“Roommates are key in the process,” Zorman said. “[Domestic students] have friends they can introduce them to and help them feel they are a part of the Butler community.”
International and domestic students would be spread throughout the wing, Zorman said.
“We don’t want to isolate international students,” Zorman said. “We want a mix of domestic and international students.”
The unit’s existence depends upon the willingness of domestic students to volunteer to be a part of it. Zorman said she believes this will not be an issue, judging from the amount of students who participated in Diversity Ambassadors for the International Orientation earlier this year.
Zorman said she hopes the new wing will take root in ResCo and then possibly spread to other places on campus like the Apartment Village.
“I hope it is here forever and we can expand it through campus,” she said.
Freshman Stephen Rooney, who is currently rooming with freshman Sam O’Neill, a student from New Zealand, said he encourages others to volunteer to room with international students.
“You’re going to get a good experience with it,” Rooney 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.”
In addition to living in New Zealand, O’Neill has also lived in Germany, Australia and Indonesia.
Freshman Brennan Walker’s living experience with an international student is different from Rooney’s due to a language barrier. Walker’s roommate, Manuel Baldizon, is from Guatemala.
“The language barrier is difficult, but it’s something you can get around very easily,” Walker said.
Walker said he feels his experience has taught him how to interact with people with different backgrounds.
“Being at Butler, you get a lot of people with the same backgrounds,” Walker said. “Manuel told me about how things here are different than living there. It’s pretty cool to learn about all the other things that happen in different cultures.”
International students help add to the diversity and Butler experience, Zoman said.
“International students are incredible people with incredible stories,” Zorman said. “The diversity they can provide is good for Butler University.
She also said she believes both international students and domestic students benefit from the international experience.
“The international student isn’t the only one gaining from our culture,” Zorman said, “but [domestic students and Butler] gain as well.”