The New School has the highest percentage of international undergraduates, which was reported in the recent edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges.” However, the international student population within Parsons is even larger (it’s about 38%). With that being said, having such a diverse community with people from so many different walks of life definitely makes for an interesting classroom! A friend of mine, Boyun Yang (or just simply Bo), is an international student herself from South Korea entering her third year in the Communication Design major, who manages school, an on-campus job and internships while breaking down cultural and language barriers.
Lauren Davis: There are so many great art and design universities out there, so I have to ask: why Parsons?
Bo Yang: Parsons is very famous and known all over the world, so it’s reputation is definitely something that drew me to it and made it my first choice for colleges. The location is also the best—you can’t beat New York City! What really made me want to attend was when I attended Accepted Student’s Day and learned that even though Parsons is known for its fashion program, it has so many other great majors as well that have great funding and really great professors.
LD: What are some of the requirements for applying as an international student?
BY: There are definitely more tests that you have to take. The TOEFL is one of them and basically just checks how fluent in English you are. But other than this and other small tests/fees everything is basically the same. We still have to provide a portfolio, transcripts and everything else.
LD: What is the general reception you feel international students get at Parsons?
BY: I definitely feel welcomed at Parsons, and I can say the same for many of my other international student friends as well. The international student orientation, as well as other programming, I feel make for a good transition.
LD: That’s great! What are some of the challenges do you feel international students face here at Parsons?
BY: I definitely think that more than anything the cultural barrier sometimes can cause friction. For professors and students to try and understand us and for us to mix with everyone else.
LD: You are super involved on and off-campus from being an RA to doing internships as well. Where have you interned and how was that experience for you?
BY: My first internship was at Colin Cowie Weddings where I assisted the junior photo editor. It was a great experience and a challenge for me was not so much the language but trying to be social, but also not too social because it is still a work environment. I am currently interning at X Urban Collective Project where I am helping an artist with an exhibition in Korea happening in September.
LD: That sounds really awesome! If you could pick anything what would your dream job be?
BY: I would like to someday be a professor at Parsons! I really admired a couple of my professors this past semester; one specifically is William Bevington. He taught one of the most challenging Communication Design electives for me, Introduction to Information Design. I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot about how to design for a purpose and how everything must link back to something.
LD: Any last thoughts or advice you have for incoming international students?
BY: My biggest advice would be to not hold on to so much of your culture. It will always be there; but, in order to improve in this diverse city it’s important to embrace other cultures, be open and meet new people. A big challenge will be communication but don’t be shy—if you don’t understand something don’t be afraid to ask! Break the wall, and once you do this you’ll be able to go one step further.