Some may have noticed that
adorning many business windows in downtown Marquette, as well as walls in university buildings, are posters that read “You Are Welcome Here” in nine different languages. Since last fall, NMU has been participating in a campaign called #YouAreWelcomeHere with the intention of displaying to foreign students our eagerness to offer them a home. This is part of a larger national campaign to show international students that American universities strive to promote diverse, friendly and safe environments for them.
Welcoming international students to campus benefits the entire campus community. A critical part of the college experience is being exposed to new ideas, especially cultural practices. Doing so allows students to reduce their ethnocentricity, while practicing inclusion and tolerance.
Additionally, by including the downtown businesses in the campaign, a symbiotic relationship between the
international students and businesses forms, allowing Marquette residents to interact with people they’d never meet and vice versa.
Traveling far from home can be stressful, and to an entirely new country,
insurmountable. The idea of facing a new language, new social standards and an entirely unfamiliar landscape can deter potential international students from making the decision to come. Thanks to campaigns like these, we can help ease the tension and stress that those students face, and help make Marquette a second home.
A famous African proverb states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Part of what makes our country strong is that we cherish each other not in spite of our differences, but because of our differences. Diversity is our strength, and foreign culture contributes pieces to the mosiac that makes up America.
Campaigns like these remind people that, ultimately, we are all in this together. Exposure to cultural diversity expands our horizons beyond the small frame we can be confined to growing up. Those willing to travel across the world to our neck of the woods deserve to be welcomed with open arms, and embraced by the community. In the end, we all benefit.