Diversity at Reed
Dana Bays, Assistant Dean of Students for International Student Services
"True diversity is to capture, understand, and appreciate differences in backgrounds, perspectives, and identities. Diversity embraces and includes everyone for who they are as individuals in this great big world in which we all live and share life.
I love approaching each day with the assurance that I will learn something new from my students. I continually grow in my own appreciation for and understanding of diversity and difference. Every day I am in awe of the undeniable value our students' and scholars' varying perspectives bring to our campus conversations and experiences."
An exceptionally diverse group of students benefits from a range of programs and support offered by International Student Services. ISS programming provides support not only to foreign citizens, but also U.S. citizens who have spent a portion of their lives abroad, sometimes called "Third Culture Kids" or "TCKs". ISS also provides practical assistance, working with students on F-1 or J-1 visas to provide guidance on immigration regulations. ISS also collaborates with other campus offices—including academic support, the dean of students, career services, and residence life—to provide resources and programs that help international students and scholars acclimate to life in the U.S. and thrive at Reed. These programs include academic support sessions, off-campus trips, career workshops, and winter break housing.
International Orientation Odyssey
The international orientation odyssey is an important and fun part of the international student experience at Reed. During the four-day orientation, newly arrived international students participate in a variety of sessions and activities that help them transition to their new home. Students have an opportunity to learn about Reed and the U.S., get to know other international students, and have time to overcome jetlag and begin exploring Portland.
The InterConnect program supports new international students with their cultural, social, and academic transition to Reed by matching them with a current Reedie. New students and their mentors get to know each other through frequent individual meetings and a series of InterConnect events that occur during the school year. Mentors play an important role in integrating new students into Reed’s unique and lively campus life.
Host Family Program
The host family program offers the opportunity for cultural exchange and a mutually rewarding relationship between a local family and an international student or language scholar. Our host families act as a liaison between international visitors and the community. The relationship begins when families welcome students and scholars to Portland by picking them up from the airport, bringing them to campus, and helping them settle into their dorm rooms. During the school year, ISS organizes structured on-campus events to bring international visitors and their host families together as a group. Additionally, throughout the year, families get together with their student or scholar, participating in a variety of activities that are of interest to both parties and that help strengthen the bond between them.
The Global Spotlight program invites all Reedies to learn about the international cultures represented on campus. With the assistance of international students and language scholars, ISS highlights one country or region each month, hosting on-campus events, a bulletin board display, and a meal week in Commons. Each Global Spotlight event expands campus awareness about different regions of the world and helps the campus community celebrate the great diversity of cultures at Reed.
Once a month ISS provides international students and language scholars an opportunity to see a new part of Portland or experience a unique side of U.S. culture through its Discover PDX series. In these off-campus trips, ISS introduces students and scholars to the vast array of events and experiences available off campus, while helping them learn more about the culture of Portland and, more broadly, the United States. Whether students are taking tours of the underground tunnels downtown, enjoying city festivals, or watching a monster truck show, they are learning what life outside of Reed is all about.
Countries currently represented by students and language scholars at Reed:
Hong Kong SAR
Republic of Macedonia
United Arab Emirates
Andre Frankenthal, Brazil, Sophomore, Physics
For me the best thing about Reed is the intellectual environment created by smart, hard-working students who reflect and learn together in every aspect of academic inquiry. My peers are here because they genuinely want to learn. The "life of the mind" philosophy is a viable way of life at this place, and that is why I love Reed!
Lydda Lopez, Mexico, Senior, Linguistics
My uncle—a Reed graduate—said to me, after all the schools he had attended, Reed would always stand out as the one that taught him how to think. Reed has taught me I can find a way to overcome anything, if I just think about it.
Kundai Gumbo, Zimbabwe, Senior, Philosophy
One highlight at Reed was my sophomore year summer in the Birchwood apartments: sharing an apartment with my two best friends (one from Jamaica and the other from Pakistan); volunteering at a hospital in downtown Portland; working on campus in the ever friendly business office; cooking new recipes for myself; going on spontaneous expeditions downtown; enjoying the sun. Take this vivid ball of memorable experiences and wrap it up in a strong and pervasive sense of independence, community camaraderie, and growing responsibility. Now add a tag that reads "Thanks to the dedicated support of the ISS, career services, residence life, TriMet bus service, and my willingness to reach out to these departments and take advantage of these wonderful opportunities," and you have the package of my Reed experience.
Martin Neise, Germany, Exchange Student
What I love about Reed the most is its intense academic program. You will learn so much in such a short time and get a lot out of your classes. The professors help you out whenever they can and give you great feedback on your work. You actually develop a good relationship with most of the staff.
The campus offers lots of little niches where you can delve into your book. And if you are lucky, you can take a break and play with a squirrel. When, however, you have enough of working, Reed offers you hundreds of activities to engage in, like sports, dancing or grass-roots politics.
Indumathi Manohar, India, Junior, Theatre
Greetings and the Doyle Owl! I am a junior who, after much existential angst of the most dramatic kind, from physics to dance, has finally settled on identifying herself as a theatre major. Though I've lived most of my life in India, I was, in fact, born in the US. Reed has been one of the most important experiences of my life; it has enabled me— between multivariable calculus and dramaturgy classes to archery and tango lessons—to challenge concepts of myself and question constructs of my identity. The air around these parts is conducive to a kind of intellectual vitality and scholarly small talk that has allowed me to look at my experience in India and the U.S. with the enthusiasm of a foreigner and the clarity of a scholar. It has opened my eyes to recognizing myself as a citizen of the world.
Huazeija, China, Sophomore, Economics
I am from a nomadic area in Tibet, China. This is my second year at Reed. Looking back on my first semester, it was not easy. I was really shocked by Reed's rigorous academic requirements. At the same time, I was very impressed with the facilities available here. I made the best use of all the academic resources and managed well with my classes. As time goes by, each class brings new excitement about learning and kindles my desire for critical thought. One very rewarding experience I have had here was being awarded the McGill Lawrence Fellowship last summer to work with One Earth Designs for two months in my native Qinghai Province, China
Tess Lallement, France/Thailand, First Year, Undecided
As an international student I found Reed inviting right away. Though I am French, I grew up in Thailand and was used to a very unique way of life. The summer before coming to Reed, I was terrified that I would get culture shock and that I would find it difficult to adapt to the American way of life. However, I felt at ease almost right away, and culture shock, though it is still there to some extent, is not a negative thing. It's true that I know a lot less about pop culture than those who actually grew up in the United States (considering that my knowledge in this area is limited to bad television shows), but in the grand scheme of things I adapted perfectly to my new environment. It's hard to have my home half way across the globe, but the friends I have at Reed and all the things I am learning make it very easy to be away.