By Lauren Mar ’25
Home: The word holds a variety of meaning for every person, but for international college students, it carries a significant weight.
“So many students here are from the Bay Area or the Los Angeles area, and their concept of homesickness looks very different from mine,” says Rhea Malhotra ’23, an international student and co-head of the Scripps International Community (SIC). “Their concept of travel also looks different and their concept of the world looks different.”
The experiences of international students are unique, and their involvement on campus is a valuable part of Scripps’ aims to uplift student perspectives.
“SIC has been super important for me since my first year,” says Ana Rodriguez ’23, who co-heads the club with Malhotra. “SIC becomes your home and your community. If I’m feeling homesick, or dealing with international student-related things, I know that I can go to someone and they’re going to know exactly how I feel.”
One of Scripps’ student-run clubs and organizations (commonly known as CLORGs), SIC was founded in 2016 and aims to assist self-identified international students transitioning into college life abroad and to promote inclusion of international students on campus. The main feature of SIC is its mentorship program, in which first-year international students are paired with a sophomore, junior, or senior mentor within the CLORG.
Though a fairly new CLORG, SIC already possesses a strong, familial sense of community and tradition. Their most recent event was a week-long game of Assassin, in which members each had a “target” they had to spray with a water gun. During Malhotra and Rodriguez’s first year, SIC went on a retreat to downtown Los Angeles to build community. They ordered Indonesian food, created identity maps, and shared their experiences as international students at Scripps with each other. Malhotra reflects that the retreat was “a way to bond through our shared experiences and also celebrate each other’s differences and learn from one another.”
Because of the tightknit and supportive community they have found through SIC, Malhotra and Rodriguez are both passionate about preserving the CLORG’s legacy at Scripps as a safe space for international students. Especially after the dissolution of The Claremont Colleges’ International Place in 2020, Malhotra and Rodriguez say that SIC is more important to Scripps international students than ever.
“SIC is important to me because it has made me feel safe at Scripps,” Malhotra says.
Rodriguez echoes this. “SIC is a space where we feel like we don’t have to explain ourselves,” she says. “As international students, we explain ourselves a lot. And being a part of SIC just eliminates all that; it’s a breather space. In SIC, we go home in a way.”