The International Student Association is an on campus organization made up of seven elected board members and over 200 international and domestic members. ISA conducts activities and advising for international and domestic students alike.
The organization also advocates for innovative international education and student-focused services. The goal is to help integrate international students and assist in bridging the gap between them and domestic students.
ISA has put together several events throughout the year: Diversity Dinner, Jeopardy Hour, Conversation Club, and their biggest event of the year, Colors in Harmony; an international talent show where many different cultures were represented.
For the end of the semester ISA put together a party on Saturday night in the Student Center. The party was to help students alleviate stress and continue to promote cultural awareness.
“It is important to have such events as they increase overall student wellness on campus through social support and a positive multicultural interaction. In addition, it is a great way to manage students' stress and social isolation,” said Muneez Patel, President of the International Student Association.
The ISA party was a clear representation of the organization's model. People from all cultures and walks of life were present from all across the world. The party was interactive, integrative and informative from start to finish.
ISA partnered with CloseUp, which is an on campus theatre troupe. They presented several skits that tackled cultural differences surrounding culture shock. Touching on American bathroom conduct, Americanized foods, impersonal American greetings and more. The troupe incorporated members of the audience to help problem solve how to be more compassionate on both sides of cultural differences.
“No culture is better than the other, they are just different,” said Hiroki Tanabe, member of CloseUp theatre troupe.
During the party, ISA also partnered with EMU’s Office of Health Promotion to promote general health and to demonstrate the importance of a smoke free campus. It was an important topic because it affects both international and domestic students.
“The experience is different when you come from a different country because you are often going it alone and don’t have much family. We try to become family away from home to promote diversity and cultural understanding on campus,” said Theres Rungenhagen, secretary of the International Student Association.
There are elections coming up for the International Student Association and any domestic or international member of the organization can run for a position. ISA encourages domestic participation as much as international participation because it helps to further bridge the cultural gap.