International Students Share Their Culture in I.S.O. “Hangouts” 

International Students Share Their Culture in I.S.O. “Hangouts” 
Kara McDuffee

Brewster’s mission––to prepare diverse thinkers for lives of purpose––doesn’t just encompass different learning styles, but different cultural perspectives, as well. And with more than 20 countries represented in our student body, the opportunities for learning from one another become ingrained in everyday campus life. 

That said, Brewster’s International Student Organization (I.S.O.) also recognizes the importance of more formal opportunities for cultural education. That’s why the I.S.O., led by Director of International Student Programs Jason Wang, started the tradition of student cultural presentations. These evening events, fondly referred to as “ISO Hangouts,” allow students from different countries and cultures to share their experiences with the community.

Students from Hungary, Senegal, China, and Singapore have presented, just to name a few. And last month, our robust group of Thai Scholars invited students and teachers to learn about their New Year’s Songkran celebration, which happened April 13-15. 

“It’s exciting to share our culture with a lot of teachers and friends,” said Mac ’22, one of the presenters. “And it’s exciting to share this other side of ourselves.”

Eight Thai scholars spoke about their various cultural and holiday traditions. The presenters also wore traditional Thai dress for the occasion. After the official presentation ended, the large crowd was invited to try two Thai desserts: fried banana and sweet corn pudding. Students and faculty lined up to sample the food, which were prepared and served by the Thai students.

The night didn’t end with desserts, however. Once everyone finished eating, a large group of students, and a few brave faculty, headed down to the Boathouse for an outdoor water-gun fight by the lake. The splash fight is a common tradition in Thailand to celebrate the New Year, especially since the holiday takes place in the middle of their hot summer season.

Ice ’22, one of the presenters, had particular fun splashing water on his classmates. He even was able to get water on Head of School Kristy Kerin, who jumped into the mix for a short spell. While he certainly had a lot to brag about when it came to his water gun triumphs, his main source of pride went much deeper than the outdoor fun.

“I feel so proud to share our culture with other students,” he said afterwards. “It’s like I’m a representative of Thailand. Here there are lots of different cultures, and we can all learn from each other.”

To see more photos from the water gun fight, you can scroll through our Flickr album here.

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