International students talk campus issues
In 1998 UMD made the decision to dedicate a space on campus that focuses on diversity and international students. This is called the Multicultural Center. It is a place that is meant to help enhance academic achievement, create a sense of belonging, celebrate diversity and foster positive relations among UMD students, faculty and staff.
Senior Maria Gomez, former president of the international club said she believes UMD provides a very positive experience for students coming to UMD from another country. However, there are always things that can be improved upon around campus.
“Imagine what it’s like for a domestic student to come to college,” Gomez said. “For us it’s a little bit harder.”
The Multicultural Center provides students access to fifteen different organizations, and twelve of them have cubicles where people can go to socialize and talk with people. The Multicultural Center holds events all around campus yearlong to try to improve student involvement. They also spread the the word about activities and groups inside the Multicultural Center that any students can join.
“One of the main goals is to educate people,” Gomez said. “You don’t come here knowing everything.”
The Multicultural Center advocates safety among students so they feel more welcome and part of the community.
“There could still be more Caucasian students, I always hear people in my class or friends saying that they want to learn more and stuff like that but I feel like they are still kind of scared of giving that first step,” Gomez said.
Staff members of the center want to work on integrating more students. They feel that UMD is making great strides, but there is still more that could be done to make the campus more inclusive.The Multicultural center also helps students adjust to the American culture and deal with the stress that comes with being an international student.
“International students may experience depression and anxiety because of homesickness,” Gomez said.
International students face a lot of pressure to perform well academically considering they are paying to study in another country. It is important that they have this space to talk and be open about it.
To check out any news or events that take place on campus, look up the online calendar or stop in the Multicultural Center on the second floor of the Kirby Student Center.