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International Student Fellowship: Bridging Cultures and Fostering Community By: Tobi Aribo

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Introduction

At Hardin-Simmons University, there is a student organization known as the International Student Fellowship (ISF). It is led by dedicated individuals like Nina Tarasovets, a sophomore majoring in business administration with a minor in marketing. ISF stands as a beacon of cultural exchange and community building. This thriving organization not only connects international and domestic students but also offers a warm and inclusive environment for all to come together, learn from each other and celebrate diversity.

A Platform for Connection

At the core of ISF's mission lies in the idea of bringing students from all walks of life together. Every Monday at 5 p.m., ISF hosts a dinner in the cafeteria where everyone is welcome. Here, students from different backgrounds can sit side by side, share stories and break bread while fostering meaningful connections and friendships.

Meetings and Engagement

ISF's engagement does not stop at the dinner table. Bi-weekly meetings, held every other Monday at 6 p.m. in Moody 233, provide a space for members to plan upcoming events and engage in exciting games. These meetings serve as the foundation for the organization's dynamic activities throughout the year.

A Commitment to Campus Involvement

In recent years, ISF has made it a priority to be more involved on the HSU campus. By actively engaging with domestic students, ISF aims to create a richer, more diverse campus experience for everyone. Their efforts extend beyond their own community, enriching the entire University.

Monthly Celebrations for All

One of the highlights of ISF's calendar is its monthly parties, open to all students. These events are designed not only for fun but also as a means of creating a sense of belonging. Whether it's involving games, food or simply sharing laughter, these gatherings have become an integral part of campus life.

Officer-hosted Gatherings

ISF understands the importance of a close knit community. To strengthen the bonds among its members, each ISF officer hosts gatherings throughout the year. These intimate events allow members to connect on a deeper level, creating lasting friendships that transcend borders.

Celebrating Diversity Through Art

At the beginning of this academic year, ISF undertakes a creative project that symbolizes their unity. This year, they crafted their first flag. Members had the opportunity to leave their handprint on this flag, signifying their commitment to unity and inclusion. This symbolic artwork now adorns the ISF space, serving as a constant reminder of their shared values.

An Exciting Lake House Party

This year, ISF kicked off the fall season with a bang. On Sept. 30, they hosted their first party at a lake house in Abilene. The event featured a plethora of activities, including kayaking, paddle ball, inflatable games and volleyball. With a tremendous turnout, the day was a resounding success and ISF members expressed their heartfelt gratitude to Reece Hester, a senior psychology major from Cambodia and his family for graciously providing the venue.

A Bridge Between Cultures

Ultimately, ISF serves as a vital bridge between international students and their unfamiliar surroundings. For those who leave their homes and journey to a foreign land for their education, ISF provides the support and community they need to thrive. Moreover, it fosters a sense of understanding and acceptance among the student body, transcending geographical and cultural boundaries.

Conclusion

The International Student Fellowship at Hardin-Simmons is more than just an organization; it's a home away from home, a place where friendships are forged and cultures are celebrated. ISF stands as a shining example of how unity, understanding and inclusivity can flourish on a college campus. In these turbulent times, ISF serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us all that we are stronger together regardless of where we came from.


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