CCU International Club thrives

CCU’s International Club has created a space for international students to meet other transfer students and engage in local cultural events.  

Ecaterina Soltoian, a graduate assistant at the Center for Global Engagement, said the club has become even more important for international students because of COVID-19. She said it’s a great way for students to familiarize themselves on campus.  

“The goal of the International Club is to make students feel welcome and give them a point of reference while they’re at CCU,” she said. 

Even with the pandemic, the club has had plenty of activities lined up throughout the semester for students. Soltoian said this past semester they had events such as ice cream socials, trips to places like Charleston, and the recent flag raising celebration to commemorate the different countries represented at Coastal. She said a spring trip to Washington D.C. is in the planning stages. 

Coastal has international students from 55 different countries this semester despite COVID-19. Germany has the most students at CCU with 19 this fall. 

Two students from Germany shared their experiences with the International Club this year. Lars Kitzmann and Lukas Echelmeyer both noted how different the culture in the United States is from Germany. Echelmeyer specifically mentioned the difference in demeanor.  

“People in Germany are pretty reserved, but that depends on the person,” Echelmeyer said. 

Kitzmann said people in the United States are very friendly, often striking up conversations with strangers. He also compared how differently the two countries treat the pandemic.  

“I was surprised to see how much less seriously COVID is taken here,” he said. “Mandates are much stricter back in Germany.” 

Both students noted that even with culture shock, the International Club has been a great way for them to get to know new students who are from the United States and those from abroad.  

As in-person events are gradually re-introduced, the International Club hopes to provide more opportunities for students from all around Coastal to learn about diverse cultures and meet new people. 

The International Club meets every two weeks on Mondays at 4 p.m. in Kearns 207.