International students were invited to attend a Coffee Talk Nov. 27 to discuss their concerns, having been exposed to a new environment, as part of the ongoing events offered by the International Student Scholar Service each term. The Coffee Talk was one of two hosted this term, the previous being held Oct. 30.
With complimentary coffee in hand, international students were asked about their well-being and how they were finding their new surroundings. The ISSS advisor seemed genuinely keen to converse with students and discuss any concerns they may have, providing solutions or suggestions on ways they may feel more at home.
The Coffee Talks also offered an opportunity to meet new people, which Ahmed Ibrahim, an international student at Drexel, could attest to. Ibrahim said the talks have helped him meet new people and offload stress associated with moving to and studying in a completely new country.
“As an international student, I found the event helpful because I managed to meet new people, both students and university personnel, who offered me useful knowledge about university events, city attractions and other important student matters,” he said.
When asked about the main benefits of the ISSS offering such an event, Ibrahim highlighted how the talk allows the student to “de-stress,” promoting group discussion and providing a “good opportunity for socialisation and networking.”
The atmosphere of the Coffee Talk was calm, relaxing and offered a space for students to talk about anything they wanted to address. The ISSS holds events like these to offer a space for international students to meet and converse, allowing them to take a step back from educational stress in a new environment.
Katie Arnson, an international student advisor for the ISSS, described the Coffee Talk as an event that brings students together in a casual setting, providing them with an opportunity to meet other students. Arnson reiterated how the event provided an opportunity for the ISSS to see “how the students are doing” and whether they needed any “support.”
“ISSS events can help students meet other students from different backgrounds and introduce them to resources at Drexel,” Arnson said when asked about the benefits of attending the events.
In addition to the Coffee Talk, numerous events for international students are offered. Events including, “Cultural Connection Hour,” allow students to discuss topics like culture shock and politics in the U.S. The ISSS also hosted a Thanksgiving meal for international students this fall.
“Each year our international student population may want something different to fit their needs better and we are very open to suggestions,” Arnson said when asked about future events the ISSS may offer to current and incoming international students.
But overall, she said that the programming will continue to respond to the office’s key aspirations to improve the experience for international students.
“The goal of all ISSS programming is to support our international student population at Drexel and to provide access to resources, make connections and offer a space for international students to come together and express their ideas and concerns,” she said.
Reflecting on the Coffee Talk and ISSS events, Ibrahim confirmed the benefits of attending such events for Drexel’s international student community, expressing appreciation for the support provided by Drexel.
“I visualize such events as a measure of care given towards international students,” he said. “And since ISSS organises a variety of them throughout the year and welcomes suggestions, then this indicates that Drexel University is very welcoming towards internationals.”