ISO event gets bigger turnout than expected


by Matt Bower

Salsa dancing was hotter than expected.

“I was really impressed that a lot of people went,” sophomore Elizabeth Caballero said. “We only had a few people attend last year, but there was a larger turnout this time around and people really seemed to enjoy it.”

International Student Organization sponsored and put on the salsa dance Friday, Oct. 14.

Caballero, the ISO secretary, said the event included both lessons and a contest.

“The first 30 minutes were spent on lessons, and then there was a 15-minute break, which was followed by another 30-minute lesson,” Caballero said. “After another break, a contest was held for the last hour.”

The salsa dancing event is just one of many events ISO members have brought to students on campus.

“Our two biggest events have been the salsa dancing and the international food festival,” said junior Kumud Poudel, president of ISO. “We had more than 400 people for the food festival, and more than 60 people showed up for the salsa dancing.”

Poudel said the food festival is held in the spring and last year it took place in Great Hall.

“We gave recipes to Pfeiffer and they prepared most of the food, but we got to help out too,” Poudel said. “I performed in it twice and although it doesn’t require much work, I still felt like I did something.”

Poudel said one of the new things planned for this year is a fall break trip to Milwaukee.

“We tried to make it as cost-efficient as possible,” Poudel said. “It will only cost $25 per person for the three-day trip.”

Caballero is looking forward to the trip because she said it provides a place for international students to go so they aren’t stuck on campus during fall break. She said they would be helping a Methodist Church in the Milwaukee area.

The fall-break trip is similar to the spring break trip the group took last year to New Orleans.

“Last year we helped with the painting and reconstructing of a community center for kids. It was a really cool experience because I got to know people better,” Caballero said.

Caballero said last year’s trip helped her improve her social skills.

“Before the trip I wasn’t that comfortable talking to others and it helped me get over that,” Caballero said.

Poudel said 19 students went on the trip to New Orleans, and although there are only 10 or 15 active participants currently in the organization, he said the trip is open to all international students.

“It helps you get to know other international students and other cultures,” senior Maya Hristakeva, vice president of ISO, said. “It’s a good way to broaden perspectives.”

Hristakeva said she really enjoys this aspect of the organization.

“That’s why I’m so involved with it – to learn about other cultures,” she said.

Caballero enjoys ISO’s activities because she can get to know the other international students.

“It’s been an awesome experience getting to know people and their cultures,” Caballero said. “I’ve made some lasting friendships.”

She said being involved with the organization also helps her with homesickness.

“It helps you realize you’re not the only one feeling homesick,” Caballero said.

Another event ISO is working to put on is showing international movies, where all students are welcome to attend and share in discussions afterwards.

Previously, the group presented the movie “Crash.”

“The main point was that we all have certain stereotypes and we need to realize how they affect our relationships with others,” Caballero said.

Poudel said he tries to organize activities that people will be interested in.

For instance, last year meetings were held in the Storm Cellar and this year the group is hoping to meet at Sports Page every month, starting Nov. 10.

“The main thing is interaction between people because it allows us to see how similar we really are,” Poudel said. “It helps generate more understanding.”