On Oct. 30, College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) International Club hosted its second-annual Cultural Meet and Greet. Held virtually via Zoom this year, the event gave club members an opportunity to share their different cultures and customs with attendees as well as give away gift certificates to local ethnic restaurants.
The event featured interviews and a Q&A session with two, foreign-born CWI students, Kaw Paw and Tawa Giwa. Kaw Paw, a second-year student studying Social Work, came to the United States with her family from a Thailand refugee camp when she was nine years old.
“I remember my first day of school not knowing how to speak English,” Paw recalled. “Things were difficult and challenging because of the language barrier. After the challenges and struggles I've been through, I am determined to make the most of all that is offered here in America. I know receiving an education is the key to my success. I came this far, and I am excited to earn a degree I’m passionate about so I can help my family, my community, and others.”
The second interviewee, Tawa Giwa, is an Engineering student and the International Club’s Vice President. Originally from Nigeria, she is attending CWI on an F1 Visa as an international student.
“I have had a unique experience at the College,” said Giwa. “It has been great because of the professors, friends, the International Club, and everything that makes it feel like a community I belong to. The International Club has helped me build a close community of people I can learn and share about myself while having fun.”
“Although the club has struggled to gain momentum from COVID last spring,” said International Club Co-Advisor, Erica Compton, “students are determined to show up each week and think of ways to engage with one another and others in a safe format. While we may be lacking human connection, connecting virtually last month at the Cultural Meet and Greet gave students and staff a chance to connect and celebrate our diversity.”