The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) held the first International Coffee Hour of this semester last week. The International Coffee Hour, held once a month, is organized by NKU students of a different country each month.
January’s coffee hour showcased the country of Palestine. Current NKU international student Amy Jabrah utilized various foods, coffee, garments, music and a slideshow presentation to describe her home country.
With help from Megan Lindle, immigration program adviser at OISS, and Ian Olson, senior French major with a minor in international studies, Jabrah organized the event which drew a crowd of more than 30 students and faculty.
Lindle said she feels the monthly event has the potential to grow as more students discover the event via OISS’s Facebook page and weekly Norse News Network bulletins.
According to Jabrah, a freshman double majoring in visual communication design and anthropology, the coffee hour was a way for her to explain why she thinks Palestine is a wonderful country.
“What I like very much [about NKU] is how I get to share my culture. They give me a nice opportunity to teach other students how my county is exactly, other than what they see as stereotypes,” said Jabrah.
Jabrah came to America three years ago and, after a slight culture shock, has assimilated well into the new culture. She began her college career in the United States at a small community college. The students there had not been exposed to many Arabs before, she said, and discovering American cultural nuances was a difficult task for her.
“When I first started attending that school, everyone viewed me as very different,” said Jabrah. “Once I was able to show them my culture, things became much better.”
Jabrah went on to say that after she explained her culture to the students who attended her small college, she was able to make friends. She said she enjoyed enlightening those students and showing them that the Middle East can be a very friendly and fun place.
Olson’s reasons for volunteering with OISS are similar to Jabrah’s. Olson, who speaks four languages, began helping with the NKU International Student Orientation program at the beginning of this semester. Once he got involved, he began to really enjoy working with international students.
“I just want to be a welcoming American they can meet,” said Olson.
Lindle, like Jabrah and Olson, is a passionate supporter of international students at NKU. Lindle began working at NKU last August; she helps prospective international students with the application process. She also organizes and promotes the monthly coffee hour events. She said she enjoys the work she does with students at the university.
“I think it’s always nice to educate all the students on campus about many different cultures, so that they can learn that there are so many different cultural norms out there, there’s not just one,” said Lindle.
According to Lindle, the coffee hour is meant to provide an environment where students can interact with fellow students from different cultures in a relaxed and friendly environment. Coffee, food, music and relaxed conversation make the NKU International Coffee Hour an enjoyable way to get to know your fellow students and broaden cultural awareness.
For more information regarding OISS’s monthly International Coffee Hour or how you can get involved with OISS, contact Megan Lindle at 859-572-6517 or via email at email@example.com.