While the president of their school was in Washington, D.C. this week receiving a national award for Miami University’s inclusion of international students, foreign-born students at the Butler County campus said the honor was well deserved.
Miami President Gregory Crawford accepted the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization as one of five winners nationally this year.
The award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that are making significant progress toward internationalization, especially those using innovative and creative approaches, according to officials from the Association of International Educators, which sponsors the award.
Miami junior Woojin Lee from South Korea wasn’t surprised by her school’s national acclaim.
“It’s very welcoming here for international students,” said Lee, a student mentor for other international students, as she took a break from her classes at Miami’s main campus in Oxford. “I feel like I’ve made life-long friends here. We have a very diverse community here.”
Her classmates, she said, are “very open-minded about people from other countries.”
Miami is one of five institutions to receive the Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization, which distinguishes excellence in integrating international education throughout all facets of university and college campuses.
Cheryl Young, assistant provost for Global Initiatives at Miami, said the school has worked hard to excel in accommodating students from around the globe.
“What I always say is Miami University and Oxford are not in the middle of nowhere,” Young said. “We’re in the middle of everywhere.”
Miami is home to 3,177 international undergraduate and graduate students in Oxford and at the regional campuses in Middletown and Hamilton, the second largest number of international students in Miami’s history.
Adjusting to both college life and living in a new culture can be jarring, said Diwen Chen, a Miami senior from China.
“When I first came here I was overwhelmed,” said Chen. “But they (Miami officials) gave us a very good tour of all parts of campus. It is a beautiful campus and they are very friendly and very inclusive. The international service department at Miami does their best to make this place inclusive.
“There are a lot of cultural events that happen every week. All students that come here, either domestically or from elsewhere, can learn and embrace cultures from everywhere. I’ve made some many friends internationally and domestically.”
Miami sophomore Jing Jing Luo, from China, agreed, saying she gives new international students on campus the advice to seek learning in and outside the classroom.
“I tell them to find a way to learn from daily life,” said Luo.