Coffee meetings generate cultural exchange

Amelia Brett

A coffee talk for English language students took place Tuesday on WKU’s campus at Tate Page Hall to encourage students to interact and practice English.

The meeting normally includes free coffee, games and discussion between both domestic and international students. It has taken place for several years and is usually held once a week on a Tuesday at times to accommodate student schedules, Madlyn Beasley, a coffee talk coordinator, said.

“If they’re interested in culture, it’s an easy way to learn about it and meet people,” Beasley said. The recent meeting topic revolved around holidays in the U.S. and students’ home countries.

The event has had both Vietnamese and Saudi students participate the most in recent years, but it’s open to every student, Beasley said. She said it has served as a place for international students to relate with people who are adapting to a new life and culture.

“I enjoy coming and spending free time with my friends,” Sultan Alsaeed, a WKU English as a Second Language International alumni, said. The meeting Tuesday lasted about an hour, and students competed for candy prizes before exchanging cultural backgrounds.

The game that took place included picking up M&M’s with chopsticks. History and traditions of Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween were explored as international students discussed what holidays are in their own countries.

“It’s good if you need to practice a foreign language,” Jennifer Cischke, a WKU student, said of the meetings. She said the connections she has made there have shown her new things she had not known about before, such as restaurants that represent other cultural cuisine in Bowling Green.

International students can have a harder time learning English if they only learn in the classroom, Cischke said. She said she has met almost all of her friends at the meetings, and she said she believes practicing with someone relatable can make it easier.

The next meeting on Nov. 14 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. will be the last of the semester. It will be held in room 0399F of Tate Page Hall, and updates can be found here.

Reporter Amelia Brett can be reached at [email protected]