It’s tough to know how to feel about the new University of Dayton China Institute.
On the one hand, this is a fantastic opportunity for the UD community. The institute will raise UD’s international profile and expand study abroad opportunities for students of many different majors. As globalization continues at a rapid pace, this institute will give UD graduates an edge in the job market and provide current students with the chance to expand their international experiences.
Additionally, it will offer many American students experiences similar to the ones our international student classmates are having. Especially considering the number of students here who are Chinese citizens, it will certainly broaden our understanding of each other’s cultures and give us a shared experience of studying in another country.
At the same time, however, we feel some conflict. While resources are being spent building a new China campus for UD, there are lots of places here on the Dayton campus that could use some resources.
For example, many of the houses in the Ghetto could use some TLC. And some human capital could be invested in finding ways to mix the international and domestic student populations. As it stands, most domestic students we know don’t know many international students. Before building a new campus overseas, maybe we should try to learn a little more about the people who came to our campus in Dayton.
The best-case scenario is that the symbolic and practical implications of the UD China Institute help to integrate our populations here in Dayton. Sometimes, you have to travel far away to learn about other cultures, but here at UD, we have tons of different cultures represented at home.
We just have to get to know each other a little better.