(PHOTO/ Pawan Khanal)
Chi Alpha held a welcome party for international students on the lawn of Pace Hall on Aug. 17. Ganlin Xiong from China and Leticia Daordzi, a senior nursing major from Accra, Ghana, compete in a three-legged race.
Students from around the globe attend Troy University, and American students interested in pursuing friendships with people of different cultural backgrounds have access to on-campus opportunities to diversify their view of the world.
The International Student Cultural Organization (ISCO), which meets on Thursdays at 7 p.m. in the Hall of Honor, had its first meeting of the semester last week.
Students from more than 10 countries gathered on Aug. 15 for Alabama Night, an event dedicated to helping international students adjust to being in the state.
Attendees learned about the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the highest peak of land in the state on top of Cheaha Mountain, and how to make friends in America.
“How people are acting here (in the U.S.), they are way more friendly and nice,” Justin Dauti, a business administration major from Germany said. “In Germany, everyone just goes their way — they don’t really talk to someone.
“We have to be friendly, and just talk to as many people as we can to meet new people and to learn new cultures.”
Nigel Dollentas, a junior economics major from the Philippines, who was raised in the United States, said that his unique upbringing gave him a joint perspective on how American students should interact with international students.
“They kind of see Americans and think, ‘Wow, this is America,’” Dollentas said. “They’re kind of intimidated, I feel.
“When you reach out, they’re like super grateful for that, and they actually do want to make friends. You just got to usually make the first step.”
In addition to ISCO’s meetings, another program is allowing students to make that first step. The Conversation Partners Program pairs an American student with an international student to spark conversation for an hour each week “in order to help them improve their knowledge of American culture and their English conversational skills,” ESL Instructor Marcus Frame wrote in an email to the student body.
“Past volunteers have virtually always had good things to say about this unique experience,” Frame said.
American students interested in becoming a conversation partner can attend an interest meeting in Pace Hall, Room 101, Thursday, Aug. 22 at 8:30 a.m. or Friday, Aug. 23 at 11 a.m.
For more information on ISCO, students can visit the Troy University ISCO Facebook page.
For conversation partners, email Marcus Frame at email@example.com.