What Does It Mean to Be an International Student?
By Sergio Calderon

To be an international student has a lot of meanings, such as how many languages can you speak, or where do you come from and how do you represent your country? Also, to be an international student has different meanings to different people. “To be an international student is to be open to the world,” says Salma, a young 6th grader from Cairo, Egypt, who has been in Germany for just seven months. If what she says is correct, then we are the people from the future, the people that would stand proudly for their country and that will make the world better, much better than we have it today. 

To be open-minded is also to speak many languages with different people in the world and practice them with other international students in our community. Most of the people here speak English and German, but we also have Spanish and French classes. For lots of people, these subjects are the most important ones because they will prepare us for an international future. I speak Spanish and English, and I’m now learning German and French, and with that I’m more relaxed about my future, even if I do not know by now what I want to study or what my job will be. “I like to speak a lot of languages and to speak them with different people,” says Nora, a 7th grade student who sometimes says “Hola!” to me, as I speak Spanish. This example helps us understand the meaning and the importance of languages because you not just learn them, but you also can practice them with other international students.

Foreign languages aren’t the only things that define our days as international students at school, but also to learn about other students’ countries and to teach people about our own. For example, Sara, a Turkish-German student says, “I want to know a lot about other countries and other cultures and for me that is the most important fact to be international, a world citizen.” Also, as I am from Colombia, I want people to learn a lot more about my country, and I want people to know and to realize that Colombia is better than what sometimes the news says.

To be an international student has a lot of meanings, as I said before, and each of them is helpful to learn more about our society at an international school such as ours. The languages that we speak, the things we learn from other countries and our future in an international community, are just examples of what it means to be an international student, but the basic pillar is to respect others how they are and learn from them so that we may build an international community here together.