Massachusetts Daily Collegian

International Coffee Hour provides a space for international students to socialize and find community

Nearly 80 students attended the event.

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(Gretchen Keller/Daily Collegian)

(Gretchen Keller/Daily Collegian)

(Gretchen Keller/Daily Collegian)

By Ying Hua, Collegian Correspondent

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The University of Massachusetts’ International Programs Office held its second International Coffee Hour of the semester at Blue Wall on Monday, from 4 to 5 p.m., providing free coffee, tea and snacks. Almost 80 students and staff attended the event, some seeking to meet new friends.

The coffee hour events have been held for four years. The IPO holds the event every two weeks but on different days of the week, allowing for more people with varying schedules to attend.

Pamela Dutta, associate director of international student and scholar success at the IPO, discussed the intent of the bi-weekly event.

“The international coffee hour is giving all international students a space, just [to socialize], and talk to other students, meet other students, bring their domestic friends and obviously have free coffee, tea and snacks—give [students] all a break,” Dutta said.

In the past, students have attended the event and talked about a wide variety of issues, from some of the dilemmas international students face, such as uncertainties related to visas, to the differences in education between the United States and other countries.

“It’s a very informal kind of get-together, and it’s really just a coffee hour,” Dutta said. “We’re growing the space. The space is becoming too small, because we’re getting so many students that are coming.”

“I really like it,” said Phoenicia Rogerson, a junior exchange student from England majoring in linguistics. “It’s nice meeting people from different departments…and bringing them together.”

As previously reported by the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, the University is home to almost 3,400 international graduate and undergraduate students from 115 countries, according to Dutta.

Panagiotis Pantidis, who is majoring in civil engineering, said he came to the coffee hour to take a break from work and have a coffee.

Christopher Shanky, a clinical social worker at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, gave one reason for holding the international coffee hour.

“This is an opportunity to bring people together and try to get them to feel a sense of connection, so that it’s not so isolating, and you don’t feel like home is so far away. And you’re here, feeling a little bit more connected,” he said.

Shivangi Singh, a senior computer science major, has spent four years at UMass advising new international students to make them feel less intimidated by the new environment. She talked about her own experiences on campus.

“Because it took me a very long time to open up…now [I’ve opened] up and realized there are so many things to do, so much I can learn from someone,” Singh said.

Shanky said that the international students, like other UMass students, have anxieties and worry about the future, jobs and relationships.

“I think international students are like everybody,” Shanky said. “There is great strength and great courage to…come so far away from home, so mostly it’s amazing to meet people who are willing to come, but also, they’re people like everybody.”

Ying Hua can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “International Coffee Hour provides a space for international students to socialize and find community”

  1. john aimo on February 7th, 2018 4:06 pm

    Wow so interesting, umass is not an international university, it’s an american one.

    We live in the united states, not some ‘global community’. The collegian should stop writing articles to peddle it’s liberal propaganda.

    [Reply]

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