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LMU’s International House Thinks Globally, Hosts Locally

The house with the many national flags flying in front has piqued the curiosity of its Westchester neighbors. Some of those neighbors have stopped to take photographs. International House flags

And curiosity is a motivating force inside International House at Loyola Marymount University: The residents drawn here are interested in exploring other cultures. Each year, seven undergraduates are picked from about 20 applicants to live in the off-campus, university-owned house on Loyola Boulevard. Many are U.S. students who have been through a study abroad program; others are from other countries.

Unlike other LMU residences, International House of People – it’s official name, or IHOP as it is often called – gives the housemates an agenda: They are charged with promoting cultural exchanges through presentations for the wider campus community. “All of the IHOP events have an educational dimension, in addition to being international,” said Karlee Vilsack ‘08, a coordinator in LMU’s Office for International Students and Scholars.

International House was started 10 years ago, and its Super Sushi Social, held at the start of the school year, is a signature event. IHOP residents have presented an Australia Day Barbecue, hosted salsa dance lessons and held an international film night, among their events. Crowds vary for the two-per-semester gatherings, but the housemates are careful to be thoughtful of their neighbors by alerting them to events and limiting the hours and noise.

As LMU’s reputation grows and more international students attend – the student-run Los Angeles Loyolan recently reported that international students compose 5 percent of the incoming class of freshmen and transfer students – the goal of the International House will take on greater relevance.

Posted April 19, 2010