Look up. Look around you. Wherever you are — Val, Frost, perhaps in class waiting for your professor to begin — look up and count the number of people around you. Do you see at least ten Amherst students? If so, then it may well be that at least one of them comes from a different part of the world. He or she could have taken a ten-hour-plus plane trip to get here. He or she may have grown up speaking a language other than English, only to be sitting within your visual range conversing, reading, writing in a different language altogether. Every year, approximately 10 percent of the cohort is made up of international students. They come from across the globe, bringing to Amherst their languages, their cultures and their preferences for Celsius, centimeters, queues instead of lines and air conditioning systems.(I suspect only 10 percent of you know exactly what I’m talking about.)
So this semester, The Amherst Student is embarking on a little project called “The International Perspective.” Through this biweekly column, we hope that international students will share what they think about and care for. Do they have an opinion on American politics? What do they think about budget deficits? What issues beyond American shores do they feel should be given attention? As they eat, sleep, study, procrastinate and party here at Amherst, are they worrying about something back home? Are they missing out on an important festival? How did they manage to struggle through the changes in time zone, climate and pronunciation?
This column will be a platform for such voices to be heard, for internationals to express their views on domestic issues and to bring to attention important occurrences around the globe. Now and then, interesting facts will be shared – did you know that fortune cookies did not originate in China? That said, this isn’t just a column about international students but about the international perspective and the exploration of the world beyond our Amherst world. So we really don’t care where our contributors come from. As long as you have something to say about something around the world — an insightful travel adventure, an interesting cultural practice, a take on the Syrian crisis — we’ll be more than delighted to share your thoughts. After all, our larger aim is to express what we know to be true — despite the ‘Amherst bubble’ we sometimes feel trapped in, Amherst students do take notice of and care about the larger world.
If you are interested in contributing an article to “The International Perspective,” please contact Cheryl at [email protected].