Friday, November 08, 2013

International House teaches students about other cultures

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield are getting a chance to learn about other countries without leaving the comfort of their apartments.

The International House, located in Bluebell Court, gives students from the United States a chance to live with students from around the globe. In the past two years, students from Belgium, China, India, Jamaica, Japan, and Russia have called the house home.

“The purpose is to foster a living-learning community among American and international students. To create a cohesive environment among the two groups,” said Riley Quinlan, a junior global studies and political science major who serves as house coordinator.

Xu Gao, a Chinese native, came to UIS because he wanted to experience something different. He’s found the International House to be a perfect fit.

“I chose to move here because I think; it’s the International House, right? I’m a foreigner and that’s the reason just to experience the different (cultures),” said Gao.

Across from Gao’s apartment lives another Chinese student, Lulu Cheng. She decided to live in the International House because she knows the world is changing.

“I think now everywhere it’s becoming more international,” said Cheng. “It’s very good for you to realize the different countries culture’s when you are in college. It will be a good experience for you in the future.”

Before coming to UIS, Shijin Soloman hadn’t ventured outside his home country.

“It’s like good to learn the different cultures,” he said. “Since my childhood days I’ve been living with the people in India, so I never got exposure.”

Students living in the International House go on group trips together, fix meals in the same kitchen, and share their life experiences.

“There are gaps of information that can be shared across the cultures,” said Quinlan. “Everyone has different cooking and living expectations. It’s just a way to communicate effectively and enrich a global background living in Springfield.”

The International House started during the Fall 2012 Semester. There are 16 students who currently call the house home, but it’s growing.

“UIS is becoming more and more of a dominant global campus and this is one way it’s living up to that and continuing its international traditions,” said Quinlan.

For more information on the International House, visit the International Student Services website.

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