BSU International Partnership facilitation can be a matter of endless details. Student onboarding, arrivals, support, credit transfer, and graduations are connected through the Academic Engagement and Global Initiatives team. In August 2021, our cohort of students arrived amidst the pandemic, systemic change, international turmoil, and several long warm days. Immediately after arriving, our students checked into their campus housing, explored food and grocery options, and fortunately, could visit a few local attractions. This article highlights these local gems.
Cammack Station: My grandfather used to drive me to “Pete’s Grocery,” a small penny-candy, coffee, and gas station in Cammack, Indiana. In 2007, this spot was converted into the retro-themed milkshake, burger, and malt shop that is typically only found near midwestern American towns like Muncie. The Fall ‘21 Partnership cohort enjoyed Hoosier pleasantries such as deep-fried tenderloin sandwiches, tater-tots, and soda fountain flavored drinks. In all, it made for a lovely welcome to these students’ homes for the next two years as they study, live, and grow at Ball State University.
Old Washington Street Festival: The Washington Street Festival is a community affair in the east-of-downtown historic neighborhood. Over two days (Sept. 18-19), the street is closed to traffic as craft vendors, food trucks, non-profit organizations, and performance stages populate the neighborhood. In addition to the community and regional attendees, a cadre of international students attended this year and was pleased with the result. Many international BSU students aren’t afforded the opportunity to be hosted in local homes, so, fortunately, the WSF includes a home tour in which several students participated.
Mid-Autumn Festival: The Chinese celebration of the annual Mid-Autumn Festival (or Moon Festival) is recognized around the pacific rim. Celebrations often include expansive meals, prizes and gifts, and party games in community settings. Undergraduate and graduate students were hosted by the Rinker Center for Global Affairs (RCGA) and several faculty to recognize this holiday. Students received small gift bags with Moon Cakes, Chinese candies, hand sanitizer, and a traditional Chinese 8-part meal. This recognition of their traditional celebrations is a crucial way BSU can demonstrate their esteem and commitment to international education at this time. In future years, we hope to return to fully in-person, come-one-come-all celebrations of this kind, but due to COVID precautions, the event was intentionally focused and limited at this time. Hopefully, our celebration of the Lunar New Year (Feb. 1, 2022) will increase capacity and reduce necessary safety protocols.
Integrating international students into the local culture, traditions, and community while also supporting their traditions is a commitment of the Rinker Center for Global Affairs and the Academic Engagement and Global Initiatives Team. We look forward to continued partnerships and developments in this
regard. If you are interested in participating or supporting this activity, please get in touch with the RCGA.