“I’ve seen strange things here,” said Ammar Babar from Lahore in Pakistan. He shared his unfamiliarity of the food, culture, and laws with many international students here at Carleton. Yunpeng Bai was shocked when he realized that there would be no exemptions for wine use in Chinese cooking. And it would be nearly impossible to accurately describe the all of the reactions from the international students when they saw a group of streakers running past the variety show in Skinner Memorial Chapel.
Despite the daunting nature of entering a new culture, Carleton’s international community is extremely close, largely due to Carleton’s Office of Intercultural and International Life (OIIL), International Student Orientation (ISO), and the OIIL peer leader program (OPL). In OPL, anyone, regardless of whether they are international or not, can have their own mentor for the year.
Junior Florence Wong said, “My mentor, Jonathan Lin has been an awesome guide whom I’ve gone to for advice and whatnot, and I’m still good friends with him today, even though he graduated my freshman year.”
OIIL puts on many international events and festivities that are open for everyone, such as the Union Street block party, study breaks, and cultural festivals. Plus, there is an International Tea Time every week, which provides a space for both international and domestic students to hang out or chat. Another great event is the International Festival held during spring term, where Carls are able to share parts of their different cultures with other students, whether it is through dance performances, food, or music.