International Center in West Lafayette.

International Center: Place to Meet Friends and Learn Languages

Whether you are working on your English, learning a brand new language or just looking to make friendships with people from other countries, you should definitely check out the International Center (IC) @Purdue, conveniently located on the Purdue Campus, 523 Russell Street. Cozily hiding behind green trees, it offers a variety of classes and activities for all Purdue students and for those who are interested in other cultures. 

If you are new to Purdue and would like some English practice with friendly people and a leisurely discussion you would surely like to join one of four conversation groups and a causal atmosphere over coffee. People with any level of English will feel welcome! There are also options to attend English as a Second Language courses which run all year round. 

I really liked attending the Tuesday morning Conversations over Coffee where we made cute stuffed dolls and cards, ate cookies and even cooked meals. The IC has a spacious kitchen which allows to manage food preparation for a few dozen people. Every month you can enjoy a Global Cafe, presentation featuring some country and a chance to sample its traditional food. Also there are regular dinners for special occasions: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Summer Supper series around 4th of July. You can be exposed to all sorts of traditional cuisine without having to leave campus.

After filling dinners and suppers, let’s get back to language classes! Should you want to learn a new language or practice other languages besides English, you can do that, too, since IC offers classes in Spanish, French, Chinese, to name a few. The list of offered classes is different each semester depending on the needs of the community. If your schedule is like mine and does not allow you to commit to a full course, you can attend a conversation group and learn at your own pace. Currently, there are French, Spanish and Japanese Conversations. I have been lucky to make friends at the French conversation group. My French is far from perfect and there are not too many chances to practice it in West Lafayette with native speakers, so having a place to come every Friday just to immerse yourself into French conversation is extremely helpful.

Another cool thing you can do at the IC is volunteering to teach your mother tongue to a group. I have taught Russian for four semesters and have found it a very rewarding experience. You only need to commit for one hour a week but the satisfaction you get from watching your students progress learning about your culture and language is tremendous. 

I cannot complete this post without mentioning the IC spotlight event of the year, Global Fest. It is a huge all-day-long fair with dozens of booths representing various countries where you can sample traditional food while listening to the live-music and shopping for souvenirs. Naturally, the little house behind the trees cannot accommodate all those tables so it is held in the open air of downtown West Lafayette. It’s a great way to make your weekend both fun and educational. All the profit is donated to the International Center to enable them to run another series of interesting free events for the community. 

The writer is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at Purdue University.

Learn more about other cultural centers and graduate student opportunities at Purdue: https://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/

At Rent Intermission Club

What do you do outside Lab?

What do you do outside Lab?

This is not how I normally look in the Lab
My Lab Face

That’s the most frequent question I got whenever I met new person once standard questions like name (Irma), occupation (Grad student), major (Food Science) answered. I think it’s a fair question since the stereotype of scientist promoted by the oh-so-famous-with-never-ending-season TV show is working in a Lab (which I do).

To answer that, let’s do some background first. I am a big Opera/Symphony fan that used to be a racer (this is a story for another day), so, I tried to find things to do in West Lafayette-Lafayette area related to my passions. Luckily, there is Purdue Convocations that sometimes host classical music and musicals. However, the tickets price for those shows are a little bit much when tallied, with student budget, I have to be creative.

This is our most Formal Shot, usually we're just being caught unaware
“Official” Group Photo before Ushering Duty (Photo Credit: Rodrigo A Rodriguez-Fuentes)

Lo and behold, I found CVN, a student organization of volunteer usher for Purdue Convocations show. I registered and started signing up for shows. There is point system, so the more frequent you signed up, the more chance you got selected for ushering. Perks of this student organization is seeing shows for free after ushering duty is done. That, plus free food (Pizza or Donuts) and coffee (or no coffee if the food is Pizza). Also, Volunteer can sign up for pre-show, usually consist of talks (sometimes recorded for WBAA radio) and Intermission Club. Intermission club is for honoring donor patrons of Purdue Convocations, light refreshments like non alcoholic beverages (for alcoholic beverages donor patrons have to pay)and finger foods (cheese cubes, vegetable dips) are provided. Volunteer usher can also have some of those afterwards.

CVN Instagram once show my smiley face
I’m featured in CVN Instagram Page! well, it’s MK and I, but still 😀

I remember my first show, it’s Calmus Ensemble. The ECHO-Klassik award winning group of They were singing Shakespeare inspired a capella. Needless to point out they are the best first experience for me. One Soprano, Two Tenors, Two Baritones. I am in heaven.

However, free show is not the best experience I gained from CVN. It’s meeting people with similar music taste and more. I met my tribe, people I can rely on for fun (Hey, let’s go to Chicago for Chicago Symphonic Orchestra College Night) and be there for me when I’m stressed out by academic burdens (the Lab, don’t forget the Lab).

Winning this plus Cabaret tickets
My Semester Bounty

This semester is special for me. I won the raffle for Chamber Tickets from Purdue Convocations, yes, all six shows on Classical music. It means I (plus one) get to go to those shows for free, no need to work for it. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic. When CVN other volunteer (a.k.a semiofficial photographer) asked me whether I will still be volunteering or not since I now get free tickets I said yes, for the shows I don’t have tickets for but mostly for fun and the people. Since that is one of the thing I do outside my Lab.

 

Video
Ambassador Group Photo

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