One of Northwestern’s core ideals is to bring people from all over campus together and build relationships with others from various backgrounds. This also happens to be the main focus of the NW’s I-Club, which is a club whose purpose is to build a bridge between the students attending NW who live in the States and the international students.
“I-Club is a great catalyst for my friendships. It has made my time at NW very enjoyable by hanging out with new people and learning about them and their culture,” said leader and president of the club, Ya-Wen Liu.
I Club engages NW students with a variety of events over the course of a school year, such as Mixer Mondays, the cultural fair and other events that are open to all students on campus. It is a way to bring diversity and culture to both campus and Orange City.
As Liu put it, “I-Club is a connection, a bridge and a place for people who are willing to be open minded to differences.”
I-Club member and core event planner Suresh Portillo echoed similar thoughts.
“Since I-Club is open to all of campus, really anyone can be a part of it. The club is mainly event-based and everyone is invited to join us at our events, and if you miss one, we encourage you to go to the next one,” Portillo said.
With a flexible event schedule and an open attendance policy, I-Club events are excellent opportunities to meet and connect with other students as well as engage in an all-around cultural experience. To achieve this, communication and creating happy and fulfilling memories is key. The core members meet once a week and plan to host events on a monthly basis for the whole campus to participate in.
“Our international students are from many countries, including Taiwan, Nepal, Canada, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Bahrain, Nicaragua, Nigeria, England, Austria, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Haiti, Spain, the Netherlands and many others,” Ya-Wen Liu said. “We wish that people who attend our event would be able to receive a piece of other cultures to bring back with them.”
I-Club also serves as an excellent way to make friends and become comfortable on campus. Portillo recalled that the first handful of friends he made on campus were international students.
“I’ve continued to meet other people because of their involvement in I-Club,” Portillo said. “Because of this, I-Club has really been a home-away-from-home to me. I could not put sufficient words together to show how grateful I am to have come across this club.”
Being an international student is difficult, not only because we need to study in a different language but also leaving our own country, family and friends is difficult to do,” Liu said.“I-Club is a safe place for us—it is home for me.”