IWU debuts its first International Student Organization

By Farah Bassyouni Dec 2, 2022

 The newly registered International Student Organization (ISO) will host a ‘friendsgiving potluck’ as their first event on Dec. 2, at the Multicultural House. The event will likely take the place of the International Office’s annual winter potluck, which typically takes place right before Christmas break. 

In an email sent to the international students on campus, the RSO highlighted that the organization is a community that aims to embrace the identities, experiences and differences among everybody. It aims to be a safe space, and a home for IWU international students.

On their instagram page, ISO introduced all of their executive board members. ISO’s President, Luisa Jhong Chung, is a senior international student from Peru and she talked about the importance of having an RSO for international students. 

“I’ve noticed that the international student community is growing every year and I wanted to provide a safe space for current and future international and local students to share their cultural traditions and experiences,” Chung said. 

IWU welcomed almost 40 international first-year students this fall, and will welcome more in the spring. In comparison, the 2007 graduating class had eight international students. 

This year’s international students come from a variety of countries: Uzbekistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Ethiopia, Brazil, Philippines, France and China. While the IWU International Office has hosted events like the potluck to unite international students together, the increase of incoming international students warranted the start of an RSO. 

“I love being among international students because we share the same fears and struggles.  We don’t have any particular RSO for international students on campus, so starting this club sounded fun,” Vice President Varvara Kuznetsova said. 

The executive board is largely made up of first-year international students. 

“As an incoming international student, I was surprised to receive such an immediately warm welcome from mentors and other international students. To be able to share that same warmth with an entire community is the reason I joined ISO,” said Anjali Malali, ISO’s secretary.

The International Student Organization aims to encourage intersectionality among students and familiarize the campus with the diverse cultures that international students offer. 

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