Every four years, my summer gets a little more interesting, thanks to the World Cup.
Part of the fun is watching the games with others (unless they are blowing a vuvuzela right next to you, in which case, not so much). Lorena and I sometimes stop by East Commons to watch a match during our lunch break, and we’re always joined by a large group of students and staff. It’s here that I’m reminded of why I love the World Cup and SDSU.
Looking around the room, I see familiar faces: the usual suspects who check out each game, no matter who’s playing. Seated between them are new faces, usually supporters of a specific country that is playing that day. But there’s always a diverse group of spectators.
So far, I’ve heard Portuguese, Arabic, English, Spanish and Korean—and that’s just from the people seated directly next to me. That’s what the World Cup and SDSU have in common: they both bring together groups of people from all over the world. That and man-bands (headbands worn by men)—we’ve seen those on and off the screen.
This diverse group comes as no surprise to me as SDSU was recently ranked No. 11 in the nation for bachelor’s degrees awarded to minorities (up from No. 16 last year), according to Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Diversity is something we value at SDSU, not just in our campus community, but as an important lesson to teach our students.
Channel 10 recently did a story on SDSU’s emphasis on international academic experience. They interviewed one of our students who had just come back from a two-week service-learning trip to Tanzania to help improve a local elementary school library.
They also spoke with Provost Marlin, who made a great point about going abroad. While you learn so much about other countries and cultures, you also learn a surprising amount about yourself. As you explain your culture and customs to someone, you really start to think about the things that have become so routine in your life.
Of course, not all of us can study abroad or volunteer in Tanzania, but we can still enjoy our own international experience here on campus. Check out East Commons during your next lunch break. Don’t worry, man-bands are not required.