Located right across from campus on the tree streets, is an opportunity for both international and American students to build new friendships and socialize with others in their community.
Each Friday, from 8 p.m.-midnight, the world café is filled with the sounds of people talking and the smell of freshly brewed Chai tea.
Sponsored by the Campus House, the World Café is able to supply its visitors with snacks and teas or coffees with the help of various volunteers and coordinators that help carry out this Friday night tradition.
“I guess around two years ago I became interested in campus and wanted to work specifically with international students,” said Katie Selby, World Café coordinator. “I’ve had a few experiences overseas and I understand what it means to live in another country and not really know what everything is.”
After searching with various organizations on campus and in the community, Selby saw a need for a comfortable and welcoming social spot for students.
While the World Café intentionally reaches out to international students, a growing number of American students and international members of the community also attend.
On average the World Café serves 50-60 people each Friday night, with international students comprising two thirds of those numbers.“We want both international and American students here; it’s beneficial for both to be here,” Selby said. “If I do come across someone from one of the churches or at an international grocery store then I’ll invite them; it’s good for the international students to get to know not just other students, but also others in the community.”
There are new visitors each week, with many students making the World Café their Friday tradition at the end of each week. Lorenzo Dancel, a freshman studying nursing, has been visiting World Café for a little over one semester.
“I’m not an international student, although I did move here from the Philippines several years ago,” Dancel said. “I’ve definitely seen how this is a place where international go when they have nowhere else to turn.”
For Dancel, World Café isn’t just a place to hang out, but it is also a place to build valuable friendships and reach out to new people.
“You build lifelong relationships and friendships, and even if one or two people leave at the end of the semester you can still keep in contact,” Dancel said. “It’s just such a great place for networking.” World Café provides diversity and networking, something that Selby felt she was missing before she acted on her love for traveling by visiting various countries over the past few years. Through her own experience she has discovered how crucial it is to have some sort of guide or support system when visiting a new area.“I love traveling and just getting to see places that are different from my own, but having someone who can guide you to get around can really make or break your experience in another country,” Selby said. “I wanted to provide that for students here because other people have welcomed me when I’ve been in other countries.”
The main priority of the World Café is to facilitate an enriching environment so that those who attend can get the most out of their experience.“My hope is that their experience here is something that will be looked at in a good way,” Selby said.