Devangana Rana plans to start monthly Global-Transition events in her community which will focus on introducing international students in her neighborhood to American culture. Each event will focus on introducing a different facet of American culture such as American greetings, making small talk, ordering food, grocery shopping, and additional things that the students need help with daily. Additionally, the events will provide information about resources in the community which are available to the students. Furthermore, events will celebrate different cultures to strengthen the inter-cultural bond in her community. Devangana hopes to impact international students by making them feel less isolated due to language barriers, difficulty in access to available resources and challenges to fit into their new environments. Updates from Global Transition Events
Hi everyone! My project is called Global Transition Events and I would like to start these events in my neighborhood. Since my neighborhood is the Family and Graduate Housing for the University of Illinois, I have had the opportunity to meet people from all around the world. It has been a unique experience having a community with people from Korea, China, Japan, Russia, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, just to name a few. My neighborhood alone is the home of people from over 45 different countries, with new people coming in the start of each semester.
Many students come with their spouses and children to study in this university from their own countries and face a major culture shock. Additionally, many of them face language barriers which contribute to them feeling isolated and helpless. Studies have shown that these emotions take a major toll on mental health and result in them being homesick. Furthermore, many international students and their families are also uninformed about the various opportunities available to them such as healthcare, insurance, and medical care which causes them not to get the required health care when the need arises. Additionally, they can also fall into medical debt. This may cause them to feel overwhelmed and stressed. My project will help solve these issues in my community and make the international students feel more welcome.
I want to start this project because of my own experiences moving to the United States from India when I was 6 years old. I faced a lot of difficulties fitting into the environment in my elementary school. Additionally, I could not understand English and thus had a lot of difficulty completing my homework. Furthermore, my mother felt isolated as my father was at the University all day and I was at school. She could not interact with other community members because of the language barrier. Slowly, I began to learn English and my mother began making some friends from our country. Because of my experience, I empathize immensely with international students and their families who come to our neighborhood. I hope that my project will help families that are experiencing the same difficulties that my family faced in the past and make their transition to the United States easier.
I am excited to meet and interact with people from my community and get to know them on a personal level. I am also excited to celebrate all of the different cultures in my community and share American culture with others.
I am planning to adapt to the Covid-19 situation by either making my events virtual or postponing the launch of my events till August. I would like to thank the Riley’s Way Foundation for giving me resources to help me start this initiative and providing me with continuous support on this journey.