By Rosie Alger
Elm Staff Writer
The Cultural Ambassadors Club promotes greater cultural understanding and fosters a relationship between international and American students.
Theresa Capule, the assistant director of the Global Education Office, started the club in order to plan events and coordinate trips that teach international students about American traditions and educate American students on a variety of international cultures.
Senior Mari Shilling works with Capule in the planning process and in getting more students to attend the programs. “Theresa created the club as a way to have cultural events on campus that would be used to have a fun and open space for international students to interact with American students,” said Shilling.
Most recently, on Wednesday, Oct. 29, the Cultural Ambassadors held a Pumpkin Carving event. They’ve also hosted a Diwali celebration, Caramel Apple Night, and bus trips to nearby cities like New York City and Annapolis.
The club tries to incorporate cultural elements from a variety of countries and the United States. Students are encouraged to propose new events and help plan them if they are feeling enthusiastic. “We have some events that we do every year, like caramel apple night or going to the pumpkin patch, but we’re also trying to add on new events all the time, depending on our international population,” Shilling said. “It’s our job to work with the international students to plan the events and make sure we’re doing things that they’re interested in.”
Freshman Shreyas Suresh is an international student from India and helped plan the Diwali Festival of Lights, suggesting recipes to be used and making sure the event was as authentic as possible. He said, “A lot of American people I talk to are interested in Indian culture.”
Sophomore Anja Trenkwalder is an international student from Austria and is planning to study abroad in Hong Kong in the spring. She said, “The events are good opportunities to get together.”
Her favorite event put on by the club so far was caramel apple night. Suresh also liked the caramel apple event. He said, “I’ve never had a caramel apple before. It was fun.”
Over fall break the club took a group of international students to New York, and Suresh went with the group. He said, “They took us there, and said we could do whatever we wanted.”
Suresh wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the outing to the Big Apple. Shilling said, “We find that international students get excited about events, especially trips. We’re doing a trip to Philadelphia in November.”
The club is always welcoming new memebers and has a myriad of events planned for the remainder of the semester. “We want to have these events for fun and to celebrate holidays, but we also want to create an open space for the exchange of cultures,” said Shilling.