Photos by Kelly Xin
The International Student Association hosted their first annual Glow Party in the Santa Rosa formal lounge on Nov. 8. The event drew a crowd of both international and domestic University of California, Santa Barbara students who danced in the darkness, illuminated by neon glow sticks.
According to ISA President Denise Lee, the event was hosted as a means for international students to ease into the culture of UCSB.
“Making friends as an international student is not easy at first, especially if you are shy or not very outgoing, which is why the ISA tries to help international students build friendships and branch out culturally,” said Lee.
Officers and volunteers transformed the formal lounge with disco lights, vibrant streamers, and upbeat songs. Guests at the party were greeted at the door with a wide array of brightly colored glow sticks provided by ISA, and many participants sported vibrant neon clothing to match the night’s theme. The event quickly reached its maximum capacity with over 120 participants who responded online to attend.
ISA provides international and domestic students with the opportunities to build global friendships and better understand other cultures. According to Lee, in order to achieve this, ISA hosts dozens of social, academic, and cultural events throughout the year.
ISA Social Chair Emily Liu said that she understands the benefits of the association as an international student herself, and hopes to see as many international students “meet new friends, enrich their college experiences, and better adapt to American life” as possible.
Kathy Chen, an ISA member, said that she appreciates the organization not only because of the variety of the events, but also their regularity.
“They host a weekly event called Coffee Hour, which helps international students get together,” said Chen. “It can be difficult to relate to American students at times, but with international students we are all on the same page and better understand one another.”
Many ISA members share the same sentiment, particularly because unlike domestic students, international students cannot return home on long weekends or holidays. As the ISA Director of Social Activities, April Zhou tries to plan events during these breaks.
“We will be going to Yosemite this year and eating a Thanksgiving dinner together, which makes many of us feel like we are in a home away from home,” Zhou said.
To learn more about the ISA and their upcoming events, visit their weekly Coffee Hour, which welcomes domestic, international, and EAP students, held every Friday from 4 PM-6 PM in the Multicultural Center Lounge.