It’s Friday afternoon, and I’m sitting at my Senior Fellow desk, as always, nervously watching the hours pass as the Cultural Show put on by Middlebury’s International Students Organization (ISO) approaches. The event is often touted as the best show of the year, and as the emcee for this year’s show, I’m beginning to feel the pressure.
I am currently in charge of ISO’s social events as a member of the Executive Board. And being the outgoing person I am, was volunteered to host the organization’s biggest shindig of the year. After several late nights spent writing scripts and sitting through dress and tech rehearsals, the day has finally arrived. Tonight, I get to help showcase one of Middlebury’s best attributes – internationalism!
I know, I know, I’m not an international student. But it’s all about countries from all over the world coming together to share their culture. To me, it’s important for Middlebury and American culture to be incorporated, too. I’ve grown up in America, but surrounded by people from around the world. When I was little, my best friend was my Korean downstairs neighbor. In high school, I was surrounded by students from Germany, Korea, China, and Taiwan at my rural Alabama boarding school. And at Middlebury, it would be impossible to list the countries my friends come from. When I went abroad, my best friends in Paris were Middlebury students from Peru, Malaysia, Canada, and the Philippines. Then I moved on to China in the Spring and spent my summer living and working with Romanians in Bucharest. Now, at Middlebury, I’ve found my international niche.
That year encouraged me to become more involved in the international scene at Middlebury, so I applied for a spot on ISO’s exec board. And here I am! The ISO show is only hours away, and I have the honor of being one of the main faces of the organization. The evening’s two shows will be followed by an after party in the on-campus dance club “The Bunker” (an intimidating concrete basement venue known for ragers and techno beats). By 2 am, I may be all international-ed out for the day. But the work with ISO continues.
Thanksgiving break is fast approaching, and I’ve been collaborating with the student-run Crossroads Café to plan a home-style Thanksgiving Dinner for the students who have decided to stay on campus. Dinner will be followed by pie, tea, coffee, and a screening of Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, as well as a poker tournament. I’ll also be grocery shopping and hosting more casual group dinners for the ISO throughout the break to make sure people survive off of more than Ramen noodles and Easy Mac (although they’re both delicious) while the dining halls are closed. The remainder of break will probably be devoted to catching up on movies, work, and hanging out with friends who have decided to stay on campus. I’m looking forward to a few days of calm and solitude and to celebrating the holidays with my very international Middlebury family!