New Gorillas received a welcome party on Friday, Jan. 25 at Whitesitt Hall.
The welcome party is normally the first International Student Association (ISA) event of the semester. The ISA advocate for diversity and regularly host events where international students and traditional American students can interact.
“ISA hosts this event because it wants to welcome all of the international students who are coming here for the first time, and it wants to give everyone a friendly environment to hang out.” Said Long Xiao, senior in political science and international studies, and current president of ISA. “… We are trying to promote a warm and welcoming environment when hosting this event. We also want to promote our Food and Culture Fair which will be at the beginning of March.”
Xiao said that these events are important for the new students to remind them that there is an organization out there to “look after them.”
“It provides a sense of friendship and belonging to our new students…” Xiao said. “It’s also a great opportunity for American students and international students to make friends too… As the current president, I’m going to have a very successful food and culture fair… we plan to collaborate with many other campus organizations, such as… Student Government Association in developing joint efforts to solve some of the campus issues relating to international students. This will not be something that I can accomplish completely in a semester, but we can definitely get started.”
“I came here to meet new friends, I have here for 3 years and I’m always looking forward to meet new friends, and its also a great opportunity to answer questions related to my experience as an international student in Pitt State,” Abdulrahman Alshanqiti, junior in microbiology, said.
Alshanqiti said that its very vital for students to feel welcome and feel sense of belonging from day one until they graduate.
“It was a fine gathering, we had a chance to meet people from different backgrounds and get to know other cultures better,” Alshanquiti said.
ISA’s mission is to “bring all groups together and all cultures” so that people can know more about each other and promote diversity in every event they host.
Si Mustapha Adil, a graduate student in business administration, came to spend time with his American Pitt Pal.
“I came here to meet the international student association and learn more about the association and the activities they are doing,” Adil said. “I wanted to meet my international friends and get to know more of them as well as American students…There is some free food too so it’s a good place to grab something nice to eat and enjoy the moment with friends.”
Adil said his experience here at Pitt state has been “incredible.”
“I had two friends who were here in Pittsburg last year as exchange students (and) they told me that it was one of their best experiences ever…” Adil said. “I couldn’t imagine it at that time and now that I am here, I can only confirm.”