Festival for International Students at Penn

Article by Charlotte Thomas, GPA Ambassador

Click here to view pictures of the event.

On October 13, the Penn Museum hosted a special event to embrace the large international student population that exists in Philadelphia. The goal of this annual Festival for International Students is to extend an official, warm welcome to those young university students who not only hail from all over the world, but who also chose the great, multicultural city of Philadelphia to host their ambitious academic and social hopes and dreams. The traditional reception at the museum offers these globally conscious scholars many crosscultural opportunitie.

Each year, the event develops a creative twist on how to best integrate the students and scholars in attendance that may possess vastly differing agendas for networking. Upon arrival, each person received a “passport” bingo sheet to map out the array of international organizations scattered through the museum’s galleries. Much like a scavenger hunt, the sheet listed activities in each square that corresponded to a participating organization. Once the student located the organization and performed the listed action, they crossed this off of the sheet and were one step closer to winning one of the fun prizes on offer.

Hitomi Yoshida, the Diversity Programs Manager at the Penn Museum, organized the reception. She enthusiastically interacted with all who attended, sharing her own experience as a former international student as confirmation that foreign teachers and learners are welcome in Philadelphia.

Optimistic students eager to seize the abundance of community engagement opportunities congregated in the hallways of the museum. Global Philadelphia Association’s table was located in the China Gallery, along with Klasko Immigration Law Partners, Penn Global, Penn Language Center, Drexel University’s Study Abroad Office, and other key globally active associations. Most, if not all of these organizations remained set up in the museum, ready to share their opportunities, until well after the event ended.

It is clear that this event advances Philadelphia as a city where all perspectives are not only accepted, but they are celebrated and incorporated into the city’s heritage. Thus, while home may be where the heart is, Philadelphia is certainly a city with enough heart and “brotherly love” to embrace all students as their own.