International Coffee Hour stirs students together

By Christopher Gillett

Jones Hall was host to International Coffee Hour last Friday afternoon, Sept. 23. The event was for international students and open to anyone at Youngstown State University to gather and mingle. 

International Coffee Hour is a monthly event for international students to socialize and enjoy familiar food and drinks when they are far away from home and family. Each event is sponsored by part of the university, with this recent one sponsored by the Spanish club.

Nick DuBos, coordinator for the international programs office, plans international coffee hours and recruits international students for YSU. He said he hoped students will appreciate the local community through International Coffee Hour.

“We want students to love YSU and we want them to love the city of Youngstown. That is our overarching goal. If they do that they’re going to tell their family about it. They’re going to tell their friends about it and they’re all going to want to come here,” DuBos said.

Chaste Chapman, a graduate counseling major, is involved with the Friends Around the World organization. She attended the event and explained the program’s connection to international students.

“[It] is an interactive group where American students are able to mingle around with international students and they form different kinds of friendships and relationships. [International students] get the opportunity to learn about American culture,” Chapman said.

Carly Devenburgh, assistant director of international student affairs, helps incoming international students with the visa process and welcomes them to campus. She explained how the demographics of international students have changed during her six years working in the program.

“Saudi Arabia was the largest population when I arrived, and [recently] we’ve been welcoming more and more students from Nepal. We had two years of [COVID-19] and that certainly affected the enrollment and we’re really glad to be welcoming students back to campus,” Devenburgh said.

Plenty of international students were at the event, like Angel Diosdado, a graduate material science and engineering major from Mexico.

“I like to come here because I actually get to see a lot of students that are either with assignments or classes and also catch up on some stuff,” Diosdado said.

Emran Hossain is a freshman electrical engineering major from Bangladesh, who said he enjoys socializing at coffee hour.

“It’s very fun and it’s very amazing and right at the time at the beginning of the weekend. For the rest of the week we have a lot of classes or assignments. Mostly we come here to meet our friends.” Hossain said.

Maya Errani, a sophomore Spanish major from Italy said she always comes to coffee hours.

“I’m an international student so I always participate in International Coffee Hour, but I’m also the vice president of the Spanish club, so that’s why I’m involved today,” Errani said.

All coffee hours are hosted in the Laricca International Collaboratory at Jones Hall, unless announced otherwise. For anyone interested in International Coffee Hour, the next one will be Oct. 21 and sponsored by Campus Recreation.