Do have an interest in learning more about International and cultural affairs? If so, the International Conversation Club might be a good fit for you!
At ICC, you’ll meet with other students from all over the globe and have informal conversations in a relaxed environment. It’s all about learning and sharing. For example, have you ever really sat down and thought about Halloween? As a student who was born and raised in Michigan, I know I never had. It was last week’s topic of conversation at ICC and it didn’t take long for me to realize how different and interesting other cultures around the world can be. As one of the only American students there, it became my duty to explain the “why” and “how” of Halloween. As I described it as the one night a year when children head out to strangers’ homes and give a veiled threat in search of candy, I recognized that understanding different cultures can be tricky. Also, that when looking at other places and peoples throughout the world that it is important to sometimes look inwards.
The talk quickly turned to other celebrations around the world, and if anyone there had anything similar in their own country. The general consensus was that all of the other countries represented there had a children’s day celebration, much in the same way Mother’s and Father’s Day are big in the United States. We also learned about how the idea of visiting strangers would be abhorrent in many nations, even if only one day a year.
The talk turned from Halloween to other holidays, like Thanksgiving. It is easy to forget how many of the traditions that revolve around Thanksgiving, or any other holiday for that matter, are not very intuitive. Although the idea of a thanksgiving used as a coming together time for families from across the globe has a certain resonance. This is a tradition that many of the international students shared in one form or another. It is almost unusual how many US holiday only last a single day, where across the Ocean, they might last a week or more.
You’ll also find that discussing the way things are done in the good old US of A can give you new perspective. Many of the international students were under the impression that Black Friday was a national holiday. And who can blame them? Looking upon your own culture with a new set of eyes can give you realizations that may have been staring you in the face for years but don’t come immediately to mind. Sometimes it can be hard to see the forest through all of the trees, as it were.
And with ICC meetings, the topics change weekly. Everything from food and drink and how a restaurant works in different locales to popular culture and how much is filtered as a US icon travels through different continents and languages.
The ICC is always looking for new members so all you have to do is stop by! It really is that simple. So if you have a few minutes to spare on Thursday afternoon at 1 and want to look at culture in a new way, you should stop by the 4th floor of King Hall where you can meet others who share your passion and interest in all things international in room 424.