Food, fun brings foreign students together

International students received a special introduction to the University of Alaska Anchorage on Aug. 27 at the Student Union Den.

The International Student Orientation, organized by the International Student Association in cooperation with New Student Orientation, drew over 20 international students. ISA vice president and senior Judith Keihl was pleased by the turnout and confident that the attendees enjoyed themselves.

‘(ISO) all ties together with the international theme, and everyone (was) relaxed,’ Keihl said,
who is from Bad Saulgau, a city in the far south of Germany.

Club representative Sibo Lungu, a senior studying Management Information Systems, helped organize the event. Lungu, who came to UAA from Zambia, said the informal gathering was ‘a way to meet more people, play lots of games, and win lots of prizes.’

Signs informing students of important American and Alaskan customs lined the Den walls. One sign advised that Americans like about three feet of personal space. Another said Alaskans always take off their shoes after entering a home so they don”t track in mud and snow.

At the start of the night, students were very quiet as they prepared their answers for ‘people bingo.’ The winner of the game was Margaret Herriot, a third-year student who transferred from Scotland.

Ben Sonntag, who came to Anchorage from Kuestelberg, Germany to participate in skiing and running with UAA, took runner up in the game.

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‘I heard about bingo in American movies,’ Sonntag said. ‘When I think of bingo, I”m thinking of old people but it”s fun.’

At the end of the social, everyone was up and dancing meringue — the national dance of the Dominican Republic. International student advisor and ISA club advisor Leslie Tuovinen was pleased with the outcome of the orientation.

‘As Alaskans, many of us have family and friends that live far away, and we learn to make surrogate families,’ Tuovinen said. ‘Many international students have to do the same thing. ISA has done such a good job getting (international students) along.’

ISA public relations officer Mary Rose Agustin said the club is open to American students as well as international ones.

‘Most of the people will be international but there are many American students, too. We welcome everyone,’ Agustin said.

For more information about the International Student Association, email club president Vica Lozinschi at [email protected]