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Chi Alpha’s ‘Welcome to America’ party encourages unity, diversity

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Steven Porter

Contributor

Chi Alpha hosted a “Welcome to America” party with food and games to help international students feel welcome in this new country.

Chi Alpha encouraged students to get to know each other no matter the differences in culture or background.

Troy University proudly flaunts the title “Alabama’s International University.” With 30 campuses around the world, Troy’s dedication to various cultures and people is exactly what some people say makes Troy so great. 

The emphasis of this particular event was  on the connection between people — both emotionally and spiritually.    

Richard Skinner, a four-year member of the Chi Alpha staff, knows how to extend a hand to international students and discussed how to come together across cultures.

“God has brought the world to us to be good hosts,” he said. “We should expose guys and girls from around the world to our land, and to try to be a good friend and try to express the love we have for them and learn something in return.” 

When it comes to getting to know people in general, Skinner said people should have a few key qualities. 

“You got to have a heart that cares for other people,” Skinner said. “You probably aren’t going to go out of your way to get to know someone unless you have a heart that cares. 

“You’re going to have to truly listen and get to know them. As we share our likes and dislikes, we grow and expand our views.”

Abie Hernandez, a sophomore nursing major from Moulton, presented the best ways for American students to open up to international students.  

“A big way of welcoming international students is to talk to them and to let them know that we’re here for them. We can help you navigate through America because it can be a little weird sometimes.”

There are different ways students can collaborate culturally, and Hernandez spoke about how individuals from various countries are able to experience each other’s cultures by getting to know each other.

“As we spend our lives around them, (international students) are going to see how we live our lives as we see how they live their lives,” Hernandez said. 

Hernandez also discussed how these kinds of events can appeal to people’s natural curiosity to learn about other cultures.

“Wanting to know what other people’s lives are like outside of America is interesting. We all live differently, but at the same time, seeing someone living their life differently is interesting.”  

Hien Tran, a senior computer science major from Hanoi, Vietnam, was asked to give a different point of view on how American students can welcome international students.   

“With international students coming to a new place, they’re going to be a little bit nervous and possibly feel lonely,” Tran said. 

“Americans could be more friendly and talkative to international students, so they can see who they really are.”  

Coming together culturally is something Tran is experiencing firsthand. 

“When you’re living in one confined culture, you’re living in a box,” Tran said. “When you open the box, you’re exposed to other cultures and can find something new and impactful to you. 

“When all the cultures come together, the best will be the result.”

If you are interested in joining Chi Alpha, it meets every Wednesday in the Trojan Center Ballrooms at 7:30 p.m.