International Coffee Hour stirs up October

The aroma of fresh coffee and pastries filled room 3212 in the Henry Madden Library as International Student Services and Programs hosted the fourth International Coffee Hour of the fall 2010 semester.

“East Meets West” was the topic for the two presenters, linguistics major Nathan Lyness and business management major Hyunji “Shine” Kim. Lyness represented the United States and Kim represented East Asia.

“Both of these people have something in common,” said International Coffee Hour Coordinator David Rasiah. “Both of them have seen both sides of the world.”

Lyness went overseas to Central Asia recently and taught English for a couple of weeks at an English center.

“I loved the people, the food especially, and the culture was really great,” Lyness said.

Kim migrated to the U.S. in 2008 from South Korea. She started her journey at Howard Community College in Maryland and then went back to South Korea in 2010 to apply for the exchange scholar program in business, which led her to Fresno State.

Rasiah is a transfer student from Sri Lanka, the tiny country south of India. He said they find presenters by networking and word-of-mouth.

“We look for people who can present well, who can talk well and most importantly, who can bring a lot of content and experience to the presentation,” Rasiah said.

International Coffee Hour has been an active program on campus since 1993 with the help of ISSP and the library’s multicultural program. It’s a weekly program that allows guests to learn about the diversity on campus and in the community while enjoying refreshments.

“It’s a program that brings together students from all over the world, international students mainly,” Rasiah said. “It’s also open to faculty and community members.”

Lyness and Kim shared the differences and comparisons between the two countries through a PowerPoint presentation. There were seven categories: food, high school, college life, job qualifications, couples living together before marriage, family relationships and human rights.

Kim said one difference between the food in the United States and in South Korea is portion size. Meals in South Korea are smaller, less salty and include a lot of vegetables and rice.

“We always have rice,” Kim said.

Kim also said high schools in South Korea don’t participate in dances or sports, but 84 percent of students attend college after high school, versus 33 percent in the U.S.

Lyness and Kim both said their experience as a presenter was great and they learned a lot through the process.

“It was really good working with a partner like Kim,” Lyness said. “I think the presentation flowed really well and we were able to kind of compliment off each other.”

Kim said she was able to make new friends while preparing and researching for the presentation.

“I’m very glad that I had a chance to give a presentation through International Coffee Hour,” Kim said. “I recommended this program to one of my teachers at HCC.”

The next International Coffee Hour takes place Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. on the second floor of the library, room 2206. Tamia Ruiz from Ecuador will be the host and the following week, Ekaterina Ganzha will share the differences between Russia and the United States.

“It’s a time of learning, but it’s also a time of relaxation among the hustle and bustle of school,” Rasiah said. “It’s a very unique learning experience.”