CIEP panel brews up conversation

International students from the CIEP shared their cultural experiences during a coffee hour and information panel on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

EMMA'LE MAAS, Executive Editor

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the Cultural and Intensive English Program (CIEP) held a Coffee Hour and Information Panel in Rod Library. The CIEP is an on-campus program that teaches both international and domestic students English and celebrates their native cultures while integrating them into American culture through activities and events. For Tuesday’s panel, students from Saudi Arabia, China and India spoke about their lives and countries. Coffee cake and coffee were served to everyone who attended. 

Each of the student panelists focused on certain parts of their culture, ranging from India’s Chand Baori and Saudi Arabia’s Winter Wonderland theme park to China’s rigorous gaokao exam.

Yogini Nawale, an international student from the Mumbai area, emphasized the history of her country and its extravagant landmarks.

“Many of you know the Taj Mahal in India,” she said. “It’s so much more than that. There are so many beautiful monuments there.”

As for her favorite part about living in the United States, Nawale said, “The people here are really nice. They always smile to each other when they see each other.”

Fulin Li and Meng Ya, international students from China, briefly spoke about the difference between different languages in China, such as differences between Traditional Chinese and Simple Chinese, and how the dialect and writing changes depending on the region. They also spoke about the different high school cultures between China and the United States, specifically concerning GPA and examinations.

“GPA means nothing to us, only the exams,” Li said.

Ya added, “In high school, the final exam is so hard and almost half of [the] people will fail.”

Batool AlJarrash, a Saudi Arabian international student, also spoke about educational differences between her country and the United States. She discussed how in schooling, boys and girls are separated, even through college. They also have exams that determine their admission to college, however, GPA is a determining factor as well.

As for her message, AlJarrash wanted her peers to know, “Islam means peace. We are not terrorists.”

Nawale followed this idea with her own message to her peers: “We are the same, so treat us the same. We are people too, just like you.”