With just under 300 internationalstudents representing over 20 different countries at Wooster, the International Student Association (ISA) plays a big role in helping students assimilate to life on campus while promoting and encouraging cultural awareness
and respect. However, this year the ISA is undergoing structural changes that will allow for a stronger organization and a more intentional mission. President Yuta Nitanai ’21 stated, “The ISA has existed at Wooster since my first year, but I knew it was not functioning well. Even though the international student body at Wooster had been growing, I did not feel a sense of community among international students.”
“I thought it would be wonderful if ISA served as a support group for international students and global nomads at the College and encouraged them to interact and collaborate more with one another,” Nitanai continued. Furthermore, the executive board is full of new recruits, including a domestic student, who are eager to re-
fresh the organizational charter and facilitate collaboration between the ISA and other student organizations. The ISA will achieve this collaboration by increasing the connection between themselves and International Student Services (ISS) to create bridges between the international and domestic student populations.
Nitanai also mentioned that before the restructuring, the ISA was a very closed community. Now, supported by two distinct goals of “building a sense of community among international students and encouraging understanding, respect and cultural exchange between domestic and international students,” the ISA will be able to bridge the gap between domestic and international students while building a stronger bond and sense of community among those far from home. Jill Munro, director of ISS and ISA’s advisor, stated that she is “excited by their enthusiasm and passion. I look forward to ISS working with ISA more closely and I have no doubt they are going to do some great things this year and make an impact on campus.”
As a way to distinguish themselves as a group that has more to offer than “just a food, fun and festival organization,” the ISA held a time management workshop on Thursday, Sept. 4 for international first-year students. Led by Alegnta Mezmur ’23, this workshop recognized, as Nitanai points out, that “many international first-years are studying remotely and that it is difficult for them to reach out to A.P.E.X. and other resources offered at Wooster to get the help they need in regard to time management and academics.”
The workshop is just one example of many new projects that the ISA has to offer; as a part of the restructuring, the ISA is removing previous programs while adding new ones to specifically target their two goals.Yuta shares that the ISA is “about to kick off [their] cultural map project, where international students studying remotely can share their own culture on an online platform. This resource, where [everyone] can learn more about countries and cultures where Wooster international students are from, will be open to everybody.” A great way for everyone at Wooster to get involved, whether remote or on campus, is to take part in the International Education Week from Oct. 25 to Oct. 31. This is an educational week designed to encourage international and cross-cultural education and to promote different cultures. This year, it will be collaboratively organized by ISA and ISS. Nitanai emphasized, “[The] Interna-tional Education Week is not just for international students, but for every-one on campus! More information is coming soon! We have had to adapt our programming plan for this year because of COVID, but are optimistic about building a community among Wooster international students and keeping our remote students connected to our Wooster community.”