By Seungwon Kim
The University of Iowa is one of the most well-known party schools in the nation. According to The Princeton Review, UI was ranked as the number one party school in 2013 and it’s still in top five. It seems party culture has been a big part of the heritage at UI since the beginning because it has never ranked worse than the top five when it comes to partying.
As an international student transfer from Iowa State University to the University of Iowa, I noticed a big difference between the two schools. Since most students at ISU are majoring in engineering which generally requires lots of assignments and study hours compared to other majors, a lot of my friends had to study even on the weekends. However, it wasn’t until I transferred to the University of Iowa, that the loud noise of students partying became common every Friday night.
Frankly speaking, I was one of those students who had crazy nightlife on campus every Friday. Ever since I transferred, partying at a friend’s house or at karaoke bars with new friends on Friday nights has become a routine. I even joined a fraternity to attend frat parties.
Some might think it is wasteful to spend time on attending parties as a college student. However, having parties could be beneficial for international students to learn the language and the culture of America.
According to Mina Park, who attended the University of Oregon as an exchange student, her GPA wasn’t as good as other Korean exchange students because she spent too much time on making new friends through parties and hanging out with them. However, she’s satisfied with her college life in America because she improved her English a lot and familiarized herself with American culture after just one year of studying abroad. Now that she has a better understanding of Americans and American culture, she is able to work for an American company after graduation and has had no difficulty with working with people with totally different cultural backgrounds.
Although it is important to graduate with a high GPA, international students also need to learn how to communicate with people from different backgrounds. It is unfortunate that most Asian international students stick within their native communities until graduation. In order to become a global leader, it is necessary to get out of comfort zone and attempt to share your background with various people and learn new cultures. As Park mentioned, partying could be helpful for familiarizing oneself in an exotic foreign culture since it makes students get connected with many different people and learn various lifestyles. Enjoying college life through partying seems to be a way to learn new cultures and values.