The Office of International Programs puts on “A Weekend in the Mountains” each year to help international students make new friends and also to give them a chance to do outdoor activities. The event, which took place Sept. 27-28, brought a lot of students from many backgrounds to one place.
“We’re here to learn about the three C’s: Community, Culture and Colorado,” said Haneet Mahajan, an electrical and computer engineering graduate student from India.
Most of the students on the trip have only been in the U.S. for a month, and a majority had never been abroad before. Students were put into small discussion groups based on their ethnic backgrounds, and later into groups with students from all cultural backgrounds at the Pingree Park ropes course.
Students were challenged in their small groups to communicate effectively with one another to come up with solutions to specific problems. At the end of day, many of them knew each others names and had broken down communication barriers between themselves.
“A lot of international students tend to silo into their own culture groups,” said Aimee Walton, program coordinator of international studies. “We’re encouraging them to get out of that comfort zone and not only meet other American students, but other international students as well.”
Saturday night, the students had a talent show, showing off dances and literature that was important to each culture represented.
“There was a Chinese dance, a poem that was read from Germany and a Mongolian song, which was really cool,” Mahajan said. “We really bonded with each other, despite our cultural differences.”
Sunday morning, some students got to face their fears and jump off the high swing on the ropes course. The students were encouraging each other and joking around, comfortable around one another.
“Everything here is totally different from home,” said Anurag Hiwanj, a graduate electrical engineering student. “But everything is awesome.”
Collegian Diversity Beat Reporter Amy Borngrebe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AbornCollegian.