Travel, culture meet for coffee Thursday nights

Shelbie Kinsey

Shelbie Kinsey

If you are interested in learning more about different cultures and world travel, look no further than the International Conversation and Coffee Group. This group usually meets about twice a month at 8 p.m. on Thursday nights to hang out, enjoy a cup of brew and listen to a speaker’s unique experience in a foreign country.

Many times, the speaker has actually lived or grown up in the country that they give a presentation on. This gives a one-of-a-kind glimpse as to what life could be like in that country. The speaker will sometimes prepare a Powerpoint presentation and bring pictures or mementos. The group has also been lucky enough to experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, members said.

“It is surprising to learn that the places you think will be the most different end up being really similar, and the places you think you will most relate to end up being shockingly different,” said Marilyn Brown, one of the organizers of the event.

The last week in October, Christine Stewart-Nunez spoke about her time teaching in Turkey. She taught overseas for two years at a Turkish-American prep school, and while she was there, traveled all over the country to places that are not large tourist hubs.

“I think this is a fantastic way to learn about other cultures,” said Stewart-Nunez. “Travel opens doors. Every student should look into it.”

After her travels in Turkey, Stewart-Nunez wrote a book of poetry about her experience and continues to lead many study abroad groups around the globe, including one to London this summer.

“I think that these meetings would be really interesting regardless of a major because I think it is helpful to know about cultures from around the world,” said Allison Wittrock, a freshman from Brandon, S.D. “I do not have a major that requires me to study abroad, but I would love to check out nursing programs in Italy or really anywhere in Europe. It would be so exciting. The next best thing, if I couldn’t travel, would be to hear first-hand stories.”

All students and community members are welcome to join this group. It is very beneficial to global studies and consumer affairs majors or any major that recommends. Hearing others’ stories could really help students considering studying abroad on deciding what country they might like to visit and help form connections about what kind of study abroad programs are available.

Around a dozen people usually attend each week and sometimes up to around 30 come. Due to the holidays during the month of November and December, the group will only be meeting once. Meetings are held at United Faith Ministries located just off campus at the corner of Eighth Street and 11th Avenue.