In September, the International and Multicultural Student Service Office (IMSSO) held a meeting in Tomlinson Hall, where it paired English-speaking students with international students. The program is called Global Connect.
As a Global Connect partner, the English-speaking student acts as a mentor. A mentor helps his assigned partner develop his speaking and listening skills. Partners meet for at least one hour per week. It is also asked that partners communicate through texting or email.
I decided to try the Global Connect program, and I was assigned a woman from Saudi Arabia. Esra came to America less than two years ago with her husband and young children.
Esra and I meet each for an hour or more and each week. I try to teach her words that she hasn’t heard before. I’ve taught her words from graceful to bromance.
When we talk about new words, I write them down for her so that she can see how they are spelled. I give her a simple definition to write next to the word.
Together we attended an event called Women of the World. During the event, I was able to try food from other countries, including rice pudding made by Esra.
I also learned about Ramadan, a fasting time during a month of the Muslim year.
Not only am I learning about the difference, but I’m learning about the similarities we have with the Muslim culture.
When I reflect back on my experience so far, I feel that Esra has taught me more than I can teach her. It has been and awesome experience, and I am glad to have a new friend.