Diversity and Asian Culture at Portland State University

Portland State University, located right downtown in the bustling city, has a large Asian culture. In fact, it is the most diverse university in Oregon. The top countries represented at PSU are Saudi Arabia, China, India, Kuwait, and Japan. Students are enrolled from over 84 countries, and all 50 states.

To break it down even further, here is the student diversity by the numbers:

White: 60%

Asian: 8%

Latino: 10%

International: 8%

African American: 3%

Native American: 1%

Multi-Ethnic: 5%

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 1%

Other: 4%

You will notice this diversity just walking through campus or around town. The city is packed with an array of Asian cuisine including a whole block of food trucks and carts offering Indian, Chinese, Japanese and more for a quick bite.

According to Travel Portland, from 1880 to 1910, Chinatown in Portland was second in population size after San Francisco. Today, Chinatown in Portland has spread throughout the entire city, no longer being confined to a specific zone. There are a variety of Chinese owned business, schools and activities.

Events are held in the city on a regular basis. To celebrate the Chinese New Year, they host a festival. The festival includes cultural performances, music and dance, demonstrations and lots of food. The Chinese New Year Cultural Fair is held annually at the Oregon Convention Center on the weekend closest to when the Chinese New Year begins.

There is also the Portland Rose Festival. Here there is a parade and a traditional dragon boat race. Nearly 100 people participate in the boat race each year. The Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association provides the boats to the participants.

Lan Su Chinese Garden

The city also has a year round garden, the Lan Su Chinese Garden, for visitors and locals to enjoy. The garden is authentic Myng Dynasty style and was built by Suzhou artisans. It is great place to enjoy some peace and quiet, relaxation and mediation. The grounds are covered with walkways and bridges, lush gardens, and a pond. During the summer months they host a 5 week concert series on Tuesday evenings. Visitors can enjoy the music and also food and drinks

The university offers many programs that focus on Asian studies. These programs include Asian Studies, Chinese World Languages and Literature, International and Global Studies: East Asian, Japanese World Languages and Literatures, and Teaching Japanese and a Foreign Language. There are also plenty of clubs and organizations on campus where students can learn about and get involved with different activities that reflect Asian studies and culture.

For a student looking to study Asian culture, or just enjoys being a part of it, Portland State University is a great place to do so. It is also a great place for Asian students to study abroad or enroll in American University. The city and university allow an easy transition into American culture while still having plenty to remind them of home.

To learn more about Portland State University, check out the PSU Visitor Guide and read the PSU School Spotlight. Go Vikings!

About the Author

Callie Pederson

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Degree in Communication and Creative Writing. Outdoor enthusiast, animal lover, blogger.

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