ISA eats a deliberately “disorganized” dinner

Almost every international boarding student on campus—all of whom are automatically members of the International Students Association (ISA)—gathered on Thursday, October 3, and shared a meal in the Dining Center, learning culture from new friends.

Seating at the dinner was a kind of scavenger hunt. Students were not arranged by dormitories or nationalities, as is typical of an ISA dinner. Instead, each table had notes specifying the nationalities and status of students who could sit at the table. For example, one table was for a “new Chinese student, returning Chinese student, returning Thai student, new Hong Kong student, new Mexican student, and returning Korean student.” Students had to find the appropriate table and sit with people they might not know well.

Regina Flores ’14, a new Mexican student, said, “I appreciate this opportunity. I am not only a new international student in the United States but also a new senior at Dana. During the dinner, returning seniors from different countries shared their stories at Dana with me and encouraged me to be bold.” It was a lively dinner, with students chatting, eating, and smiling.

According to Lulu Cao ’14, one of the ISA tri-heads, “Because international students sometimes tend to hang out with friends who share common cultural experiences, they do not have a lot of chances to understand the beauty and fun of other students’ culture. So by holding this dinner, ISA disorganizes the students and hopes to offer opportunities for students to communicate and make new friends.”

Ms. Donna Corrigan, the Head of Boarding Life and International Students, said, “The shared meal with each other allowed students the chance to socialize, mingle, and check in with one another as to how the year is going. It is our hope that seating arrangements also provided students the opportunity to make a new friend and learn something about them and their country and culture.”

Photo: ISA students relax at the end of their “disorganized” dinner. Photo credit: Luceo Wang.

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