Turkey talk and tea: International Coffee Hour spotlighted Turkey

An array of Turkish food lay on buffet tables as music welcomed a total of 28 students to the most recent International Coffee Hour event April 29 afternoon.  The host for the coffee hour was exchange student and international studies major, Kudret Uresin, who was surprised at the turnout.

“I didn’t expect this many people,” said Uresin.  “I didn’t have a lot of food and drinks, and when I started to offer food, the coffee was already empty… so I was a little bit worried.”

During the event, conversation filled the room as students from different cultures were able to try Turkish coffee, tea and food, including Turkish pumpkin dessert and Turkish delights.

“I am the only Turkish student here at school,” said Uresin, “and I don’t make [food] a lot, so I found the Turkish American Society Association in Cincinnati and they helped me…so I could offer drinks and food.”

Turkey was the fourth nation to be spotlighted by the Office of International Students and Scholars coffee hour this semester following Saudi Arabia, Germany and Mexico.

This event takes a slightly different approach on education events, where the social aspect of students meeting and conversing is more vividly highlighted.

“For me, the point is to allow for students across campus and from cross cultures to just get an opportunity to talk to each other and not have to sit through a presentation necessarily,” said Megan Lindle, Immigration Program Advisor for the Office of International Students and Scholars.

“I think it should be educational but I also think that people educate each other.”

Lindle sees the event as a way where students can talk to each other one-on-one, so possible

friendships can be formed and where students will become educated on different cultures through conversations during the coffee hour and after.

“I think the most important thing of today is that people come together from different cultures,” said Uresin. “I think the food is just something additional that people can just enjoy.”

The International Coffee Hour is an event where students are able to request and host their own coffee hour featuring their own culture.  The short introduction, food and music are all presented by the student host, but are reimbursed by the Office of International Students and Scholars.

Not every coffee hour has been hosted by a single student, but Lindle welcomes collaborations with other organizations and student groups on campus such as the Intercultural Living Learning Community, Saudi Arabian Student Association and the Latino Student Affairs.

“I would love if we had groups of students that could do it,” said Lindle, “i think that’s always better because they can work together.”