A Cultural Kaleidoscope
Texas A&M University’s International Student Association celebrates world cultures while creating a community for international Aggies.
- By Lydia Hill ’21
- Photos provided by the Texas A&M Division of Student Affairs
- May. 16, 20222 min read
Every year, Texas A&M University students from around the world find their place in the Aggie family thanks to the International Student Association (ISA). Founded in 1969, the student-run organization, which is part of the Memorial Student Center's Student Programs Office, promotes an inclusive environment for the university’s 5,500 international Aggies. “When students arrive from another country, they normally leave everything behind,” said ISA president Sean Waters ’22. “We create a space where they feel at home.”
To accomplish this mission, ISA hosts events and supports other ethnic and cultural campus organizations to connect students from different national backgrounds and promote cultural awareness. Whether teaching international Aggies about Texas A&M or American-born Aggies about traditions from across the globe, ISA focuses on enriching students’ lives as they make Aggieland their own.
Around the World in 80 Ways
Every spring, ISA holds International Week with five days of events showcasing and celebrating different cultures. Activities include I-Dinner, a buffet of varied cultural cuisines; I-Story, student presentations on their home countries’ history and traditions; and I-Exhibit, an outdoor exhibition featuring displays from various ethnic and cultural student organizations.
Putting on a Show
The biggest International Week event is I-Show, an evening of free performances from student organizations. Up to 200 audience members flock to Rudder Theatre to enjoy music, dances and costumes from countries like Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Mexico and more, displaying Aggies' diversity and talents.
To help international students better understand and connect to campus culture, ISA holds two annual events celebrating Aggies’ time-honored game day traditions. At Football 101, students learn more about American football, practice yells and meet Reveille. They then experience the pre-game excitement in action at Global Tailgate.
By opening membership and events to the entire student body, ISA educates all Aggies about the rich diversity of cultures represented on campus. “Our activities connect these international students to the community so others can understand everything they contribute and see they’re Aggies, too,” said ISA advisor Valerie Wilson ’14.
With approximately 175 students from six continents, ISA members are a diverse group united by their passion for sharing and exploring cultures. For many, the organization becomes home during their time in Aggieland. “ISA introduced me to a welcoming community of people who are passionate about humanity,” Waters said. “I want the organization to provide that same experience to everyone.”
Make a Difference: Passionate about supporting international Aggies? A gift to the International Student Association Endowment will help create perpetual support for ISA’s mission and allow for expanded activities and financial support for members. Give today at give.am/ISAEndowment.