While Kean can be categorized as a university that draws from the local population to build the majority of its student body, this school still facilitates engagement from a variety of different cultures. This can be seen in Kean’s International Student Association (ISA).
Kean’s Center for International Studies, located in the Center for Academic Success (CAS) Room 201, is responsible for both helping students find a way to study in another country and welcoming students from other countries to study here. Many of these students have found a place in the ISA, which has been a recognized organization on campus for over four years.
Aakanksha Singh, a senior finance major, is the current president of the ISA and has been involved with the club for three years. She was driven to become part of the group due to her passion for obtaining and spreading knowledge on alternative cultures.
“Being an international student myself, I love learning about other cultures and their values. Also, I wanted to be a part of something that promotes greater diversity and international awareness in the university community,” Singh said.
According to Singh, the ISA serves the purpose of spreading awareness, acceptance and education regarding all of the varied backgrounds and cultures that have found their way to Union, New Jersey.
“International Student Association is committed to providing students with the opportunity to explore the beauty of all the different cultures we have on campus, primarily through our diverse executive board which is also committed to engaging education and social learning in a variety of fun activities and programs. ISA encourages all Kean students to develop a multicultural, open mind,” Singh said.
Apart from Singh, the group’s executive board consists of Treasurer Nisarg Modi and Secretary Anne Caelle Jean. Singh stressed that, although this is an internationally-oriented organization, any student regardless of international status is encouraged to join.
“ISA’s membership is not limited to international students. In fact, we welcome people of every nationality, race and religion. [We welcome] people who have an interest in developing cultural awareness,” Singh said.
The ISA meets every other Thursday in various rooms throughout CAS. There, the organization will work on its programming plans, consider possible partnerships and provide lectures.
“We typically discuss our upcoming events, collaboration with other clubs as well as different cultures within our members through PowerPoint [presentations],” Singh said.
The group will be co-hosting the Holi Festival, in which participants celebrate the beginning of spring by throwing powdered colors at one another. This will be taking place April 18 on the basketball courts near the Nancy Thompson Library.
The ISA is has also organized an International Film Festival where students will be able to view a foreign film April 27 on the basketball courts. The event is free to all students and seats are limited.
In general, Singh believes that the ISA is a valuable organization to the community in its ability to celebrate cultural differences while also embracing the similarities that bypass separate backgrounds.
“Students will gain knowledge of greater unity within the international student community through a social network based on the common experience of studying abroad in the United States,” Singh said. “We promote ties between the international student community and American students.”
The Center for International Studies can also be contacted at (908) 737-0350 or firstname.lastname@example.org.