Coffee has never been so cultural.
Started in 1998 by peers and volunteers, International Coffee Hour has been the place for socialization among international students and to bring understanding between international and American students through presentations, traditional foods and free hot coffee. International Coffee Hour happens every Friday from 2:40 p.m. to 4:30 p.m, and is located at the Owl Cove in the first floor of Mitten Hall.
“International Coffee Hour is a social gathering mainly for international students but of course for American students too,” peer Dian Paramita said. “What I really want from the coffee hour is for international students to meet American people so that they can mingle and become friends.
Last Friday Indonesian Coffee Hour was held. Students from Indonesia, some wearing the colorful, traditional clothes called Kebaya, presented information about their country and provided traditional foods.
Many people have come to the coffee hour and made friends, like Temple alumnus Gyanender S. Rana. Despite being a graduate, he still comes every Friday.
“[Coffee hour] is my project for Friday,” Rana said. “My coffee hour starts at 2:30 p.m. and ends at 2:30 a.m.”
But according to Paramita, there are two problems to fix. The first is the Owl Cove’s schedule and the lack of volunteers, which sometimes leads to the cancellation of coffee hour. The other problem is the few interactions between American and international students.
“I think there are some [interactions], but I think American students are lots of times intimidated because they feel like ‘oh, I am not exotic enough,'” said junior Fatima Adamu. “They feel boring though they would like to come and enjoy.”
Freshman Devin Sewell agreed with Adamu.
“I think people can feel more comfortable when they speak their native language,” said Sewell. “You know, French people hang out with French people because they can express better in French than in English. I think that’s why there are not so many [Americans].”
Peer Daisuke Shimazaki said they are organizing other activities besides the coffee hour such as a bowling tournament and ice skating. Those who are interested in those events can find the information at www.temple.edu/oispeers.
Toshi Horiuchi can be reached at Thori1978@aol.com.