It’s amazing what richness of experience, perspectives and insights comes together at the International Student House. Much has been written about it, more said, and still it stays an endless well of discoveries! As John Glenn said: “we have infinite amount to learn from nature and one another”.
All of the up to 90 people at ISH at any given time, can tell unique stories of life around the world and share lessons from their studies, projects and life experiences.
Many of these insights could go untapped, if it was not for one cherished tradition at ISH D.C: The residents’ Salon.
The Salon is our weekly get together on Sunday nights, inviting every resident to share a story from their life, an insight from their studies or information about their country with fellow residents. It may also be pictures and lessons from a journey they took, or a teaching session for a skill they have mastered. Topics range across all aspects of life and society on our planet!
During my time, here at ISH, we have, for example, learned the lesser-known aspects of stress and stress management from psychology student Aman, and travelled to Finland for a night of Finnish history, sweets and first steps to mastering the Finnish language with Hilkka, who interned at the Finish embassy at the time. More recently, Jonathan has told us about the political economy of his home country, Nigeria, helping us understand interdependencies we must be aware of as global citizens. Beyond our curiosity on countries, cultures, and each other’s travels and studies; current affairs often make the perfect occasion for a residents’ Salon: Hence, with the Turkish Referendum that was held in mid-April, we were grateful to learn some more about the situation in Turkey and the decision from our Turkish fellow resident Cem. A Sunday before, Rose shared insight from her research on one of the most heartbreaking cruelties of our time, sexual violence as a weapon of war. With her talk, Rose has raised our awareness and made us sensitive to the challenge our generation must address. It’s important to look at issues like this one, and encouraging to do it with fellow students from all over the world.
Together we explore and elaborate how we may learn from insights and apply them to our life and work. We can thus think of the residents’ salon in many ways as a commentary, think tank, cultural exchange and research lab run by us, the residents, together. There is no obligation to contribute, yet there is no question that everyone has something uniquely valuable to share!
Hence, as you come to ISH, it’s always fruitful to ask: With all that is going on around the world, what would I like to better understand? And what is a lesson or experience I can share, for my fellow residents to learn from? Lastly, with all the different nationalities in the house: of any country represented here at the house, what have I always wanted to understand?
The Residents’ Salon is a chance to explore any and all of these topics: a casual get-together with snacks and conversations that help us understand one more piece of our world, one Sunday at a time.
So, whether you are a new or long-established resident, what would you like to learn about, what would you like to share? Find a fellow resident to pick the topic for some next Sunday’s Salon – and let Alex, our Salon coordinator know, when you’re ready.
A lively, inspiring chat awaits and I, for one, can’t wait.