By Sarahanne Kent
The atmosphere at the International Harvest Festival last Thursday night was cozy and inviting. Set in the warmly lit Freedom Café, located at 10 Mill Road, a long table was adorned with delicious baked goods and the many comfy chairs and sofas were full of international students enjoying the taste of American culture.
This event was hosted by Campus Crusade for Christ (or CRU), a Christian ministry group on campus that, in recent years, has strived to help international students feel more at home while studying at UNH through it International Cafe group. What began as a summer ministry program for international students has turned into a year-long venture. The group will generally meet every-other week on Thursday evenings to connect international students to UNH students. At these meetings, the American group leaders focus on improving the international students’ English skills as well as enhancing their cultural knowledge.
Many students have benefitted from this club. Wellick Almeida, from Brazil, said that the club was “very good” for him.
“When I got here I didn’t know anyone,” explained Wellick, “but now I have a lot of friends.”
Rafaela Barbosa, also from Brazil, praised the club saying “I love it!” and that the club was “like family,” to her.
This particular CRU event, hosted in the Freedom Café (though not affiliated with the Freedom Café) was designed to introduce international students to American culture through food and traditional harvest celebrations. Organized by Kelsey Gilmore, Erva Barnes, and Noey Struthers, this event helps to further integrate international students into American culture.
Gilmore, who has been with this international program from its start, said this event gives student from other countries a chance to “experience an American fall.” Similarly, Barnes said that it’s helpful for the international students to “learn from other cultures.” Later in the semester, the group will also be celebrating Thanksgiving with the international students by enjoying traditional American food.
There were approximately 50 people at the event from numerous countries. Students from Turkey, Guatemala, Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, China, and many more countries were represented at the party. Upon entering the Harvest Festival ,one could hear the musical mixture of accents from all around the globe. A slideshow of photographs was playing on a projector, demonstrating all the different club members interacting in previous meetings. Costumes were provided to demonstrate Halloween festivities, apple cider and apple cakes, along with many other baked goods, represented the harvest aspect of the celebration. The Freedom Café was a tremendous melting pot of cultures that night.
If an international student wishes to join International Café, its meetings are currently held every other Thursday from 7:30-9 p.m., though this does fluctuate. For further information, feel free to visit the CRU International Café @UNH Facebook or Wildcat Link page.