New council to connect international, domestic students

Devan C. Tasa, News Editor Ω

A newly formed group on campus is working to find ways to create more interaction between international and domestic students.

The Intercultural Council is a group of 12 students from different cultural backgrounds. Five of those students are domestic students, while the others come from countries such as Jamaica, Russia, Nigeria and Ukraine.

The council was created by TRU World to tackle a specific problem on campus — international and domestic students don’t seem to be connecting with each other.

“We’ve noticed that there are cliques on campus and even though they are here to be in Canada, they’re still staying with members of their own culture,” said Mary-Grace Maung, a member of the council. “We’re trying to give them opportunities to break out of that and explore not only what Canada can offer them, but other cultures as well.”

These cliques aren’t formed because international students don’t want to connect with Canadians, said council member Andrew Dalgleish.

“From what we’ve talked to about with other international students, a lot of the time they’ll say, ‘You know, we make great friends here, but we don’t get to know the other Canadians,’” he said. “There is an actual desire from them to break out but when you are in another country that’s foreign to you, it’s sometimes hard to do that, even if you are a very extroverted person.”

The council’s aim is to hold monthly events that will bring international and domestic students together in one place.

The council has only organized one event so far, East vs. West, in which a Canadian DJ with Dutch ancestry and a Ukrainian DJ had a friendly music battle with each other.

“Immediately following the event, we had people asking us to do more events like that,” Dalgleish said.

On Wednesday, Nov. 21, the council will be showing the German-language film The Wave at 7 p.m. in the Alumni Theatre.

Council member Will George chose to apply to volunteer for the council based on his experiences as an exchange student in Finland.

“I was hoping to give back. When I was in Finland, there were groups there that were doing the same [type of] events monthly, so I was hoping to be on the other side of that and give back to the international students that are now coming back to Canada,” he said.

Dalgleish and Maung had different reasons to join.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to just interact with, for my own cultural interest, other cultures of the world,” Dalgleish said. “This is a great opportunity to build up my own awareness and [learn] how I can improve myself through that.”

“I am interested in travelling and I’m interested in a whole bunch of different cultures,” Maung said. “I will basically pounce on any opportunity to learn about other people.

While the council is new, Dalgleish said he thought it was something that was needed on campus.

“It’s a very big task that were pulling, but it’s an extremely worthy aim to make ourselves more culturally sensitive and the campus more culturally sensitive too,” he said.