SNU has recently launched a new group for international students on campus called the International Student Society (ISS). The group will be holding their first event on March 14th at 8pm on the second floor if the library. The event will provide free Ethiopian food samples by Queen of Sheba. ISS also has a chapel small group for international students to come to get connected with one another. Both events are open to all students.
Nate Goodwin, the Director for Intercultural Student Engagement, explained, “ISS is enabling students to get together and belong in a group so they can help other students.” Some of the many things that Goodwin expressed that international students needed assistance with were drivers licenses, visas, citizenship and choosing classes.
Goodwin also expressed that he can not wait to see what SNU will do in the future regarding international students. When asked how students from the United States could better reach out to international students, he explained that attending “events like this one coming up (Ethiopian Food Sample) because that event is not just for ISS, but for all students. He continued saying, “Whenever we open the door for all students, they can get to know one another… then we can talk, and that’s how people learn.”
Judit Mas Bassas and Abesolom Merkuria, the student mentors for ISS, expressed their excitement for the society and the possibilities that can come from it. Bassas expressed her own struggles come to SNU from Spain, saying, “It was really hard to find a group of people, and now looking back at it, I could have done a lot to change that, but I didn’t know that.”
She continued by saying she wished she would have had someone that would listen to her. She wished people were more interested in who she was and what she thought. Bassas did explain that now it’s easier, but she wished she would have had someone to help her to learn about the United States.
Merkuria expressed that homesickness was a big struggle for him coming to the United States from Kenya. He is originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. When asked, he explained the homesickness, saying, “I came to the US thousands of miles away from my family and where I grew up. I’m a missionary kid. I’ve experienced different cultures, but it was really hard.” Both Bassas and Merkuria expressed how they missed both their mom’s food.
The main goal for ISS is to make sure that international students can get connected, feel like they belong and thrive on SNU’s campus. When people engage with one another, that is when real change can happen. If we continue to live in our own little bubbles and never take the time to get to know someone else, then we will continue to perpetuate the same cycles of assumptions.
Follow ISS on Instagram for more information about upcoming events and meetings:
(Photo Courtesy of Troy Vernier)