View From The Hill: Chai Chats offer students a glimpse of cultures and traditions from around the world

Chai Chats offer students a glimpse of cultures and traditions from around the world
Updated: Feb. 23, 2023 at 5:30 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU students are learning about other cultures around the world one sip at a time.

“It’s really fun to see how everybody sets up, how different cultures set up the different teas or coffees,” said one student.

This is the fourth semester WKU’s Global Learning and International Affairs Office has offered Chai Chats every other week, with an emphasis on a different country each time.

“It’s just been a really great space for students to share some of who they are, they really take pride in talking about their culture, you know, who taught them to brew tea this way or specific instruments they use or were given to them by their family so that they could make coffee a certain way,” said Lauren Reyes, assistant director for International Student Success.

Chai Chats have been a big hit with students like freshman Nitin Thota, who is originally from India.

“I find new perspectives. I find new friends. I learn friendliness,” said Thota.

Averaging about fifty people at each Chai Chat, organizers say there’s no shortage of students wanting to share about their countries.

“Now that we’re in our second year of doing it, students come to me eagerly at the beginning of the semester and I’ve booked all our dates for spring and a couple for the fall already,” said Thota.

Nitan is looking forward to leading a Chai Chat on India next semester.

“The chai is really famous in India so I’ll probably ask my friends to bring in chai but I’ll focus more on the ancient heritage of India,” said Thota.

Pouring into the cultural experiences students can have and share, despite being far from home.

“Students just really enjoy kind of like peering behind the curtain a little bit and seeing this ritual that’s part of so many of our lives that looks different around the world,” said Reyes.

“I think it’s really fun learning about other cultures without leaving Bowling Green,” said WKU Senior, Elizabeth Gonzalez-Rivaflecha.

Close to thirty countries including Brazil, Korea, Vietnam and many others have been featured since Chai Chats began in the fall of 2021.