ISA promotes international community on campus


Courtesy of Alexi Korolev

Suffolk’s International Student Association (ISA) strives to promote community and togetherness among both international and domestic Suffolk students. They do this  through weekly meetings and co-sponsoring events with other cultural clubs on campus. The university itself capitalizes on its great international presence. According to the Suffolk website, there are nearly 1,700 international students from at least 110 different countries.

ISA aims to bring all international students together to create a community where students can work and collaborate in unity. The diversity within ISA provides numerous unique perspectives and allows the group to have deep, intellectual and thought-provoking conversations about important global issues.

Most of the students in ISA are involved in other organizations on campus, allowing them to gain more perspectives on American culture in college. ISA is looking to increase the number of members in their organization so they can learn more about different students’ domestic and international lifestyles and experiences. ISA holds events, such as the Indian Diwali Festival of Lights, to bring people of all different cultures together to appreciate celebrations from across the globe.

“We want to make international students feel welcome,” said freshman Entrepreneurship major and incoming ISA Treasurer Junayed Islam. According to Islam, international students tend to develop their expectations of college life prior to coming to the U.S. based on what they see in movies.

Since Suffolk doesn’t provide that “traditional” college experience, according to Islam, sometimes international students have trouble transitioning. Because Suffolk is embedded into Boston, some international students experience difficulty adapting to the new lifestyle when they first arrive. College itself is a brand new experience.

International students, while adapting to college life, also have to figure out how to navigate their way through a new city and country. ISA provides a safe zone where students can talk to others facing the same struggles and then provide support for one another.

“We want to make sure students are having fun and enjoying the city in a responsible way,” said Islam. Because they are so far away from home, international students often feel a new, great deal of freedom when they come to the U.S.

“When we’re all together, we want to make sure everyone is on track,” said Islam. ISA provides support and advice to any all international students regardless of what they are going through.

ISA wants to have a greater presence on campus next year, through co-sponsoring events with other international clubs such as the Venezuelan Student Union, the Chinese Student Association, the Caribbean Student Network, as well as all other clubs who are  interested.

“The unique thing about [ISA] is that we want to collaborate with students from other cultures as much as possible,” said sophomore Business major and ISA Vice President Charles Tang. “We’d enjoy if other international groups came to us more to collaborate for events.”

Most other cultural clubs serve as somewhat of a “home away from home” for international students by providing them with events to experience their own culture. ISA seeks to work with students from all different cultural backgrounds to give people a well-rounded cultural experience in a social setting.

“We want to get to know more about everyone’s culture, not just one in particular,” said senior biochemistry major and ISA President Kubra Umit.

Suffolk’s international presence allows students to interact with other students from all different backgrounds. ISA allows students to take advantage of going to school alongside international students by allowing them to get to know each other on a deeper level while getting a taste of other cultures.

“We want to introduce new cultural events to others,” said Umit. The more students that come to ISA meetings, the more cultures they get to explore.

“This is a great club for American students to join to experience different cultures,” said Tang. The club’s executive board alone consists of members from China, Turkey, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. ISA emphasizes that students that join the club don’t have to be international.

“We’re living alongside so many international students,” said junior advertising major and ISA secretary Rhema Rondina, “Don’t be afraid to get to know someone from a different part of the world, you can learn so much.”

For next year, ISA hopes to hold at least two events each month to draw more members in and promote their club. “Everyone is always welcome to come,” said Umit who explained ISA feels that being cultured and well-educated about different ethnicities will allow Suffolk to become a closer community.