The aroma of unique spices filled the air. Chicken and vegetable pot Thai from Sala Thai, chicken and vegetable fried rice from Chinese Dragon, and chicken curry from India Palace sat temptingly as students filed in and looked around.
The International Club held its annual Welcome Dinner in the Kirby Ballroom last Wednesday evening. The event’s main purpose is to gather all the new members and make a strong bond with current members and officers.
“It was really awesome,” said Min-Jung Cha, a sophomore at UMD. “Delicious food and interesting games!”
To get things started and break the ice, International Club members got set up for a game of “Telephone.” To play, a person from each table had to come up with a word in a language other than his or her own, and then whispered that word to the next person in the circle. When it came to the end of the line, the last person had to yell out the word the first person said. The team that finished with the correct word first won.
“It was especially good thanks to the ‘telephone’ game,” Cha said. “It makes a closer atmosphere with people from different cultural backgrounds.”
The club hopes to bring people throughout UMD together, as well as Duluth community. International Club adviser Anna Gilmore was very happy with the event turnout.
“The International Club Welcome Dinner was a great success,” Gilmore said. “Almost 150 people came to socialize, learn about the club’s activities, and enjoy delicious food. Students had a lot of fun meeting new people, playing games and enjoying tasty food from around the world.”
With lots of new students mingling and interacting, people got to learn about each other, not just cultures as a whole. This is one of International Club president Dayae Kim’s main hopes for the club.
“My goal for the club is having the members have fun together,” Kim said. “To our International Club new and old members, I want them to not think about culture first, but the person they are interacting with.”
The International Club has a goal of improving cultural awareness. Kim says that it can take time and patience when learning to understand a new culture. Setbacks can be discouraging, but she doesn’t want people to give up.
“First you get culture shock and barriers and awkward moments,” Kim said. “But after, as you wait and keep showing up to our club meetings and try to understand people, you will see something above the culture. And I hope our club can be the one that provides the chance to students to learn this as a stepping stone.”
BY MIN LEE firstname.lastname@example.org -- PHOTOS BY SARA HUGHES email@example.com