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Campus Life initiative serves international students and promotes world peace

November 6, 2017

By John Baker Brown, Campus Life Communications

When Emory students from the Longstreet-Means residence hall hosted a Halloween trick or treat for more than 20 children from the university's GLOBE International Families group, the students may not have been aware that they were promoting world peace.

Nonetheless, they were contributing to that cause, according to Rick Huizinga, coordinator for International Student Life. ISL is a component of Student Involvement, Leadership, and Transitions (SILT), which in turn is part of Campus Life’s Community Portfolio.

Huizinga and studentHuizinga (left) talks with Zhangyi Ye, class of 2019, at the 2016 opening of the Global Connections Lounge in Long-Street Means Hall. (Photo credit: Tina Chang)

“ISL is an engagement and leadership-building entity that contributes to SILT’s mission to promote involvement through engagement opportunities and developing a greater sense of community through a global lens,” says Lisa J. Loveall, director of Student Involvement, Leadership, and Transitions.

ISL also serves the Emory community and the institution’s mission by bringing people together across the artificial boundaries of religion, and nationality.

Huizinga sees two overlapping goals for International Student Life – serving Emory’s international student population and supporting intercultural education for the larger university community.

ISL reaches out to more than 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 80 countries.

"Our goal is to help our students from global locations fully weave into the fabric of the Emory community,” Huizinga says. "We help them find community, knowledge gaps, and leadership opportunities – to use their valuable perspectives to better Emory as a whole."

ISL’s two primary goals overlap demonstrably in the challenges faced many international students in finding work on campus. For example, they are not eligible for federal work study positions. In addition, cultural barriers often stand between a student and employment.

“In some cultures, promoting oneself is frowned on,” Huizinga explained. “This can be a big disadvantage for an international student interviewing with a prospective campus employer who expects applicants to taut their qualifications.”   

Huizinga cites the GLOBE International Families group as one example of an ISL program that speaks to both goals – serving students and educating the campus community. GLOBE, which meets twice per month, is described as “a community for all international, multicultural, multilingual, and globally minded families of Emory University.”

Open to all members of the Emory community, GLOBE offers regular playgroups at which children and their parents can gather to socialize, sing songs in various languages, and do arts and crafts together with members. 

Additional programs under the International Student Life banner include:

“I guess I’ve always been about intercultural learning,” says Huizinga, a Wisconsin native who has taught history, social studies, and English in places as diverse as North Carolina, Southern California, and Seoul, Korea.

Before coming to Emory, he and his wife, who is South Korean, and their two young children lived in Finland, where he earned a master’s in educational leadership.

“Intercultural education is peacebuilding,” he says. “We all must become intercultural learners and bridge builders in today’s diverse and complex world – an international community that we must share with one another.”

International Student Life – as part of Student Involvement, Leadership, and Advocacy – sits within SILT’s transitions area and provides opportunities for students of both international and domestic identities to develop leadership skills, identity affirmation, and intercultural education and awareness.

For More information on SILT, contact Lisa J. Loveall at

For more information on ISL, contact Rick Huizinga at