The Center for Global Engagement at Indiana State University has always looked up for international students.

It is not quite easy to understand the norms of a completely new community and or country. There are many culture differences, not only in a personal scenario, but also in the professional environment.

CGE has continuously tried to help international students to stay abreast of the changes and requirements that we might have to fulfill.

It is quite easy to say, “be what you are,” but not equally easy to follow. There are a few indispensable requirements or guidelines that any professional organization might expect from their employees.

It would not be their fault if they reject any international students who are oblivious to it. The companies or organizations don’t work on pity but run on the worth that their employees bring in.

The International Student Leadership Development (ISLDP) workshop is all about empowering international students in their professional world. I was part of this workshop for two days.

The first day, April 5, 2019, we were a part of great presentations from inspiring scholars. These presentations were subjected towards introspection, self-motivation and most importantly, to believe in yourself and do your best wherever you are.

Then there was a beautiful luncheon organized for us. It was not about the food that we ate, but about the etiquette expected from us during interviews that will be part of our future. Etiquette is crucial and the intricacies during these meetings can affect one’s ability to get a job.

I was completely unaware of many of these things, so I am glad I attended it.

For example, while you are at a dinner or luncheon with your prospective company or boss, then there are certain expectations from your side.

If your fork, butter knife, or any utensil falls down, do not attempt to pick it up. This would have been something that I would definitely do. However, picking up the utensil would have possibly made the whole situation awkward and very unprofessional.

Although, what do I know? These kind of cultural differences and details that we were completely unaware of were addressed at this event.

After this event, we headed towards the Sycamore Outdoor Center. The activities and the people we met made impacted me personally and I am sure it did for many others too who attended.

We made friends and we shared our troubles and fears. We became closer to each other. We understood that we were not alone in this struggle and we got each other’s backs.

The first night at the Outdoor Center, we participated in team building exercises and cooked food in teams. This experience of sharing and caring was great. We all were working together with a great gusto for the group.

We then laid the food made on table and shared our dinner and thoughts. Soon after, we gathered around a bonfire and started sharing our personal experience.

As it is unavoidable, we also began to share our emotions about the hardships of being in a new country with no family to fall back on and the fears of ours as an international student.

I guess, I found a family in the U.S. during the bonfire talk that night. That feeling of belonging is something that every person needs.

The next morning, CGE planned an amazing and sort of dare devil activity for us.

We all knew what it was, but still had jitters and butterflies in the pit of stomach when we had to actually do the task intending to overcome our fears.

To be frank, lot of us did overcome our fears during that task. The task was rope climbing and zip lining.

It was a fun and an equally adrenaline-pumping experience. It was a first time for many of us.

Bunches of trained professionals trained and helped us, so this whole task was well monitored. We continuously felt very safe, but at the same time, we had a rush during this task.

We all completed this activity and none regretted it, which shows that it was a great success. Meanwhile, those who were not rope climbing, they were canoeing or kayaking.

Even this was a learning experience for me. I never canoed before, so my other fellow student was patient enough and taught me.

I would like to give a big shout out to CGE on behalf of all international students. Thank you for helping us in every corner of our journey at ISU!