International Talk Time Club welcomes all

On Thursday Sept. 28, International Talk Time club held their weekly meeting welcoming new students to the program and getting to know one another. The club consists of students from different backgrounds including Indonesian, Japanese, Chinese, American and Korean cultures.
David Wang, the club student president, is originally from Shanghai, China and has been attending meetings for over two years. David describes International Talk Time as a “great place to meet people and make new friends. For example, the BC International Business Program brings [them] a lot of Japanese business students who come to the club to make friends […] This club teaches you how to develop relationships, leadership skills and gain exposure to new cultures and ideas.”
Wang recalled the first time he attended an International Talk Time meeting saying, “two years ago was the first time I saw International Talk Time’s email and joined the club. My first time going I was a little surprised about their topics and attitude that they had, but I really liked the club because it provided social events like barbecue parties and social outings like going to basketball games which are interesting to experience with different people.”
Kerry Allen, a local BC student who also leads International Talk Time, said “it’s great being able to come into it and helping students from other areas; it is a place where you can get to know people and teach them about American culture. It opens dialogue about culture and you end up talking, and noticing differences and similarities that you wouldn’t even have thought of. A lot of the students coming in are very open and friendly, once you get a conversation going you get to really know the other person. It goes beyond helping in a group, it’s about building friendships and getting to know people.”
The club has four main values that it wishes to pass on to students which it has categorized into four “Ss:” Social, Services, Spiritual and Student leadership. The social aspect of the club is represented in every meeting by having a space and events where international students can meet new people, share new experiences and form bonds with other students. Services are given to international students so that they can transition to life in the United States easier such as rides from the airport. Spiritual discussions and philosophical questions are also involved in the club. While it is run by a Christian organization, all faiths are accepted equally and are respected with a mutual end goal in place of getting a better understanding of others. Also, student leadership plays a large part in the club, providing opportunities for students to get involved in planning, communications and presentations which are all student led.
Phil Peterson, a Community partner from the Bridges Organization, spoke of how his family motivated him to be a part of the program. “It’s personal for me because my family emigrated from the Philippines and I feel like this is my way of giving back and to be able to help people who are going through a similar experience. My faith is about loving people and helping others, and I feel like this is my way of doing that.” Peterson also mentioned the importance of programs like International Talk Time “which provide essential services for international students so that they can become better accustomed to life here.”
More information can be found at the International Talk Time at Bellevue College Facebook page and at meetings which take place in Room C225 on Thursdays 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Bridges Organization also hosts International Talk Time on other campuses for transfer students.