My university has had some problems with soliciting donations and getting external funding because it hasn't shown a deep enough commitment to promoting diversity among students and faculty members. So now the administration is doing its best to show how much we, the international faculty members, are appreciated. Today, for example, we had yet another reception with our Dean where every international faculty member was given a really cool (and expensive) gift.
It isn't easy being an international faculty member on the border between Illinois and Missouri. The food options are non-existent, ethnic foodstores and restaurants can only be encountered if your drag yourself over all the way to St. Louis. People have trouble understanding even those of us whose English is really fantastic. I've lived in many different places on this continent, but this is the first area where people have trouble understanding my English, which, believe me, is not heavily accented at all. Life in this area is really boring, which is very difficult for international academics to get used to. Everybody looks the same, dresses the same, speak the same way, and has had the same (very limited) life experiences. Foreigners stick out like sore thumbs in the midst of this uniformity.
This is why it's so rewarding to feel that one's foreignness is at least appreciated by the university administration. I think it's very useful for the students to see some variety in the kind of faculty members who teach them. Our presence in the classroom is enough to show the students that different ways of being, thinking and relating to the world exist.