Club helps members to fit in

During the International Club meeting on Jan. 29, students discuss having a Chinese New Year´s Party.

During the International Club meeting on Jan. 29, students discuss having a Chinese New Year´s Party.

Craig Jones

The International Club at Missouri Southern rang in the new year Feb. 1 — the Chinese New Year, that is.

The club gathered at faculty co-sponsor Trish Udell’s house after an outing to House Of Yen for Chinese food. The club members celebrated with fireworks, Chinese snacks and a Chinese film with English subtitles.

At the club’s meeting Jan. 29, the members discussed upcoming plans for the spring semester.

The club is considering a group trip during spring break.

The club is also discussing dinner and movie outings throughout the semester.

The club uses its funds to subsidize the activities for its members, who must pay annual dues in the amount of $5.

Dr. David Locher, associate professor of sociology, who has been a faculty sponsor of the club in years past, is helping with the club again this year. Locher said the group’s main function is to be a social club.

“It’s not just a club for international students; everybody is welcome,” Locher said.

Locher said the club exists to provide for social interaction between American and international students.

“You get to meet people from all over the world,” he said.

Udell, director of the Intensive English program at Southern, sponsors the club along with Dr. Nii Abrahams, assistant professor of economics.

Udell said the nations represented within the club’s membership include countries from South America, Europe, East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the United States.

Udell said the club is helpful to international students trying to adjust to life at Southern. She said the club is a way to help the international students become familiar with American culture and community life.

“There’s more to living in America than living on a college campus,” Udell said.

She has experienced the shock of living with unfamiliar people and customs.

“We lived for two years in Saudi Arabia,” Udell said. “I know what it’s like to be in a foreign culture.”

She said the international members of the club become a sort of family for each other; among themselves, they are able to find a sense of connecting.

Locher said relationships formed in the club can lead to continuing relationships and travel opportunities.

“We’ve had American students go overseas because of a connection they made at the International Club,” Locher said.

Udell said the club meets at least monthly and the meetings are usually in Webster Hall.