International students enrich SBCC campus with diversity

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

TAYLOR WILLIAMS, Staff Writer

The extensive amount of international students at City College creates a diverse campus, however many community members directly link the students to the ongoing issue of overcrowding in Santa Barbara.

When walking around the City College campus, you are likely to notice vast cultural differences in students just by their appearances and languages being spoken.

This is because about 6 percent of students out of the 33,704 enrolled in classes at City College come here from out of the country.

Many of these students are involved in the International Student Program (ISP), which has attracted people from countries such as Sweden, China, Japan, and Korea.

Like many twenty-year-old students, I plan on traveling abroad at some point, and being surrounded by international students has really opened my eyes to all the different cultures in the world.

Therefore, I find going to such a diverse school to be very rewarding.

As a communication major, I appreciate the diversity on campus and see it as an opportunity to communicate better amongst other cultures. Since communication styles are different based on where you are from, this better prepares students to travel abroad, having a previous knowledge of other cultural norms.

However, members of the Santa Barbara community are frustrated with the high number of international students, blaming them for the lack of available housing and increasing rent, despite the decrease in enrollment compared to the previous fall semester.

On top of these efforts, the Board of Trustees voted on Sept. 24 to not renew the lease with the Kaplan International School after it is up on 2017.

The continuous overcrowding in Santa Barbara is creating other problems such as the substantially low vacancy rate, which is currently at 1 percent, as well as the skyrocketing rent in the area. These factors of living have even forced families and working professionals to move out of Santa Barbara.

In an effort to help the overcrowding in Santa Barbara, the City College has greatly cut back on advertising and raised tuition for international and out-of-state students. However, the tight housing market and crammed classrooms still remains an issue.

Despite all of the controversy that has been sparked from the high number of international students, I still find that meeting people from other countries is a very enriching experience.

Not many community college students get to have the experience of casually meeting people from around the country and world on a daily basis.

The level of diversity on our campus is one of many reasons that make City College a great place to learn.