Expanding international club

By Danielle Keeton-Olsen
Staff Writer
Senior Ursula Tyl walked into the College and Career Center in September hoping to meet and learn about other foreign high schools in her same position.
“For me, it was just a great way to get back to and connect with the other students that are Polish, and also learn about different cultures and experience different traditions,” Tyl said.
Currently, the intention of International Club is to unite more students with similar interests as Tyl, even if they do not come from a deeply cultural background.
International Club is an outlet for students to share their cultural backgrounds. It began as a club mainly for English as a Second Language (ESL) students, as well as foreign exchange students. While Prospect no longer teaches ESL students, nor hosts any foreign exchange students this year, Counselor Colleen Carroll still enjoys sponsoring the club.
While Carroll is the sponsor of the club, she is not the sole organizer. Sophomore Fatima Eldes joined the club to celebrate her and other students’ traditions, but she found that she wanted more from it.
After realizing that International Club had no president, Eldes volunteered to organize and plan events. She asked Carroll if there was any way to help, and Eldes quickly took control with Carroll’s guidance
“I want [the students] to feel like it’s their club,” said Carroll.
So far this semester, the two biggest projects that Eldes has organized were the annual Thanksgiving Feast and a Turkish Cultural Day.
The Thanksgiving Feast has occurred for the past five years that Carroll has sponsored the club, and it has been one of her favorite events. Carroll and the students all bring a food that is specific to their culture or traditions, and they share it over a group conversation, just like a traditional Thanksgiving party.
“Some [dishes] they make, [and] some kids bring pretzels because they aren’t able to do anything else, but everybody brings something,” Carroll said.
The Turkish Day, in contrast, was totally organized by Eldes. Because of her Turkish heritage, she easily created a presentation to introduce the rest of the club to her culture and traditions. Eldes provided authentic food and music, as well as a video about Turkey and its culture.
“Finding the food was more work than actually finding a video about the country,” Eldes said.
This semester, Eldes is hoping to draw more club members by hosting other cultural days, with Russian, Indian, and Polish themes.
Tyl, a former native of Poland, is hoping to sponsor the Polish Cultural Day, but she will need help to pull it off.
“The Polish culture is diverse,” Tyl said. “We have different aspects of the culture, so everyone’s from a different part, and I thought it would be [more] effective together.”
To plan for the next big events, International Club meets every Thursday after school in the College and Career Center. This Thursday, they will be holding a Valentine’s Day event, by teaching all the members how to say “I love you” in different languages.
“My main reason for International Club was promoting dialogue between different nations, but within a small community,” said Eldes. “I feel like students respect each other because there’s dialogue going on.”