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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M infielder Rylen Wiggins (2) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at the Austin Super Regional at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

American students should enjoy international flavor

At Texas A&M, a gap exists between international students and American students.
According to the International Student Service (ISS), there are more than 3,000 international students at Texas A&M, including about 2,500 graduate students. While they are elite students from a great number of countries, they seem to be left out of the Aggie family. International students tend to have their own world. They did not go to Fish Camp to learn about the traditions, they seldom go to Silver Taps because they were never told what it represents, and many have never seen a live football game. Moreover, many serve as TA’s in undergraduate classes, which further isolates them from most students on campus. As international students, they are largely outnumbered by American students, who have a different cultural background.
Now, a bridge is being built over the gap. Student organizations, such as the International Student Association, the International Graduate Student Association and the Aggie Ambassadors, promote international atmosphere and interaction between American and international students. These organizations sponsor events that provide opportunities for American students to connect with different cultures. For example, International Week, which is sponsored by ISA, has programs such as I-Buffet, a culture display and an international student talent show.
IGSA sponsors Unidiversity Week, and the Mexican Student Association hosts Mexican Independence Day parties. All of those organizations, together with major student organizations such as the MSC and Student Government, are actively seeking opportunities to co-program with each other to provide an extensive cultural education to A&M students. With all of the activities available, however, the involvement of the American student body is still lower than that of international students, which makes international student’s the major participants of all the events. Basically, the bridge has been built, but no one is crossing it.
American students need to take advantage of the best cultural resource — the international students. Promoting cultures on campus is the ultimate goal of these organizations, and meeting people from different cultural backgrounds is the best and most direct way to learn about different cultures. They can provide opinions from a different prospective, which U.S. students may not find amongst themselves.
The international students bring resources to Aggieland that most people have to search all over the world to find. Because of the globalization movement, it will become more difficult to avoid the impact of different cultures on American society. In addition, when people in all other nations are reaching out to the world, the United States will be at a disadvantage if it does not follow suit. For example, many countries mandate a second language in their education systems. In fact, many Europeans even know three to four languages, whereas most Americans only know English.
The last thing that might keep U.S. students from reaching out is the fear to ask questions about different cultures. Some people think they are revealing ignorance or being offensive by asking questions. As a Chinese student, I was asked a lot of identical questions with answers that I took for granted all my life. “Does everybody know martial arts in China?” “What’s the biggest religion in China?” ” Is everybody born to be communists?” These questions allowed me to educate students about my country and culture, while clearing up any stereotypes.
A&M is an excellent university with great diversity and, more importantly, unity. As hosts of Aggieland, American students have the obligation to make anyone who enrolls in A&M feel welcome. Students should cross the bridge and utilize the great resources that international students make available – not just to benefit themselves, but also to make our campus a better place for everyone.

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