A Letter to My International Friends

A letter to some familiar faces on campus,

To you, who sat next to me every class and would share her notes, always greeting me with a smile and an “¡Hola!”

To you, who I ran into at that first meet and greet dinner, who was the only other freshman in our major and soon found out we lived in the same building as well, and who became one of the only familiar faces throughout our first weeks. 

To you, whose door was right across mine, who I’d always see in the elevators and always exchange a smile. 

To you, who I would exclusively see at tailgates and parties and who I would always, always have a fun time with.

To you, my TA, who would wake up at ungodly hours to explain math problems to students that were half asleep so passionately.

To you, my other TA, who would always sit and explain to me ever so patiently how to properly code our labs and would go through every line of code to find the one colon I missed.

And to you, the person that slowly became one of my favorite people on campus. You that I would spend considerably too much time with, pointlessly arguing over things I was definitely right about or just, quite literally, doing absolutely nothing. 

To all of you, I miss you so much. I miss you and I am sorry your future at USC is in jeopardy because of where you’re from. I am sorry this country deems you less worthy of a quality education because of your visa status. I am sorry that while we are hoping for things to go back to normal, you have to hope to go back. I am sorry that this country takes things like wearing masks and COVID-19 precautions as a political opinion rather than common sense, dragging your return into that. I am sorry that while I am guaranteed a return to campus- or at least to the area- you are faced with uncertainty on the legality of your presence on an institution you were rightfully accepted into. 

I want you to know that I will actively fight and do everything in my power to help you. I will listen and amplify your voices. I will help you find resources (like the list of all available, hybrid classes at USC). I will sign petitions. I will be a shoulder to fall back on if you need emotional support, and I will make sure we have equal access to opportunities. 

Because you have as much right as me to sit in class. 

Because you have as much right as me to be in my same major.

Because you have as much right as me to live in the same building. 

Because you have as much right as me to tailgate and party. 

Because you have as much right as me to help other students with math or coding or any other class.

Because you have as much right as me to enjoy college to the fullest extent, all the friendships, the classes, the wild nights, everything that makes it the best four years of our lives. 

Because you are a human with a story and should be treated as such, not just as a number. 

You are so strong. I know you will get through this and know that you are not alone. 

Best, 

Your non-international friend