If traveling the world to different countries is one of your dreams, the International Society can help you get started without leaving campus. Started last year, the International Society unites the University’s different cultural populations into a melting pot of fun, food, and activities.
“I want people to get away from science and learn about each other,” said Maria Vengrenyuk BI’12, International Society president. “We don’t have to travel the world to meet people from other cultures … the world is right here on campus.”
The International Society gathers once a month to focus on a single culture and share interesting dishes, customs, and dances among its offerings. The group is open to all students, faculty, and staff. And just because you hail from the United States, don’t think you are not part of the International Society.
“We want to make people on campus aware of other the people and backgrounds that are here,” said Betsy Bolger, Information Science and International Society advisor. “We are an educational society representing all cultures.”
In a recent meeting, a student from Bangladesh talked about arranged marriages, quite literally a foreign concept to many in the group and sparked a wide-ranging conversation. The students have taken trips to a Ukrainian art show and a Bengali fashion show. Bolger who hails from Kenya promised to teach the students the ChaKaCha dance and share cuisine from Kenya.
Vengrenyuk has had help in getting the new club off the ground from fellow student Robert Okwemba PMM’12, who like Bolger is from Kenya, along with Student Affairs’ International Student Specialist Lynne Walker and Associate Dean/Director of Multicultural Affairs Walt Perry.
Vengrenyuk was bolstered when 134 students signed up at the recent student organizational fair.
“I would like to take (the International Society on) a trip to the Statue of Liberty,” Vengrenyuk said of her ultimate goal this year. “This has special meaning for all as it is where all immigrants came from to this country.”
For more information about the International Society, contact Vengrenyuk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Join Student Affairs for the Student Reception at the Penn Museum’ Chinese Rotunda on October 22, 2010 (3260 South Street, 33rd and Spruce). This is a free event for any interested international student. Contact Lynne Walker at email@example.com for more information.