We changed our name from Foreign Observer to Global Observer. Here’s why


Mihiro Shimano

Welcome to the newly renamed Global Observer. Our name was originally Foreign Observer. Yet less than a month after launching, the name of our internationally-themed, student-run publication ran into pushback.

Here’s why:

Over the past few decades, the word “foreign” has gained a negative connotation, especially in an era of globalization and large-scale immigration. Some view “foreign” as meaning outsider — a view that is also echoed in other languages.

For example, in Japanese, a word used to refer to foreigners is 外人 (gaijin — outside person). And this can be considered offensive. A more neutral term is 外国人 (gaikokujin – person from another country). Many people still use “gaijin,” but broadcasters and newspapers lean towards using “gaikokuji.”

At Northeastern, the word “foreign” resonates strongly because about one-third of the student body is international.

Despite the name change, the goal of Global Observer remains the same: To cover issues that matter to the international student community but are often overlooked by other publications — whether it’s obtaining a visa or battling loneliness thousands of miles from home. We will continue to provide high-quality coverage of these stories.