International Student Assembly: Helping USC Students Find a Home Away from Home

The International Student Assembly strengthens the Trojan family by building a bridge between students of different cultures.

Story by: Leah Haynesworth

Whether it’s because of its strong academic reputation or desirable location in sunny Los Angeles, USC remains a popular academic institution amongst students all over the world. However, coming to a new country can be intimidating and unsettling. The International Student Assembly (ISA) ensures that the international students who arrive at USC have a voice and a positive experience living in the United States.

ISA expresses the issues and desires pertaining to the international student body at USC and provides a platform for the diverse cultures on campus. The group also helps students forge close relationships and find a new family at USC, which can be truly comforting for those students whose families live far away. “ISA is all about family; we like to say that we are the bridge between students from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, and countries,” said Rachel Zou, ISA’s executive director.

ISA does not only cater to students from outside the US, but rather seeks to work with American students, as well. The group allows both American students and students new to the US to discover more about their classmates from all over the world. This cultural exchange further strengthens USC’s renowned Trojan family. “I like to say that ISA is not really ‘international’ but rather ‘multinational;’ we are here for the students, to represent everyone and anyone,” Zou said. “We bring people together in the hopes of creating a global Trojan family,” she explained.

In order to carry out its mission, ISA hosts several events throughout the academic year which foster connections between students of varying cultural backgrounds and coordinates with international student organizations on campus. “ISA works to provide the professional and social experiences that will enhance the overall undergraduate and graduate student experiences at USC,” said Tiffany Chang, the assistant director of ISA.

Member organizations of ISA include AfricaSC, Association of Indian Students (AIS), Armenian Students’ Association, Canadian Students Association, Iranian Graduate Students Association (IGSA), Japanese Students Association, USC Circle K International, USC Chinese Student Association (USC CSA), USC Chinese Students and Scholars Association (USC CSSA), USC Italian Society, USC Korean International Student Association (KISA), and USC Malaysian Students Association.

ISA members pose by the international flags outside Von KleinSmid Center Library.

Leah Haynesworth, Communications Editor, is a first year student in the Master of Public Administration program and is from Montclair, New Jersey.