International students share stories at cross cultural dinner

Photo credit: Jessica Hubble

By Joy Moton | Staff Writer

Students and faculty gathered Tuesday evening in the Bobo Spiritual Life Center for the Cross Cultural Engagement Dinner with the Indian Subcontinent Student Association.

Students from the organization prepared a traditional Indian dinner called butter chicken, a spicy dish with white rice, chicken and gravy.

Springfield, Mo., junior Noah Ward opened the dinner by explaining the purpose behind cross-cultural dinners.

He said the dinners are designed to strengthen the bonds of cultural humility and religious literacy at Baylor. Ward emphasized that part of Christianity is understanding our neighbors and loving one another.

The dinner featured a panel of three students sharing about their experiences in and outside of America. Waco junior Steve Kemgang asked the students questions about cultures, traditions and pressures since moving to America.

Carrollton, Texas junior Zaayan Tharwani from Pakistan said his parents came to America because he had asthma and pollution was bad in Pakistan.

He said he appreciates honesty, integrity and the way everybody is working hard to do something with the American dream.

Since he has been at Baylor, he feels more responsible than he was freshman year, and he said he has learned how to manage his time better.

“I have the mindset where if I need to make a sacrifice for my family, I’m willing to do that. They’ve put me in a position to succeed,” Tharwani said.

Pavritha Srinivasan Lynwood, WA junior said her family works hard to keep their cultural traditions from India going.

A major difference between America and India is that India gives people days off to participate in cultural traditions.

“We used to get days off for Diwali, a festival of lights and we would get up at 4 a.m. and burst fire crackers,” Srinivasan said.

Srinivasan said she is an only child and her parents miss living with a large family. Her grandfather had eight children, and when they all grew up and got married, they stayed together in the same home.

“Family is really close and parents are involved in your life until you’re married. Until you’re financially stable, they’ll do everything they can to make sure you’re set,” Srinivasan said.

She said she moved to America because her dad got a job offer, and she felt that she was the driving force for him coming to America because he wanted her to get the best education she could. She said her parents have always been supportive of her, and their protectiveness has been a blessing.

“When it comes to kids, parents sacrifice a lot, and we don’t notice it,” Srinivasan said.

Since she has been at Baylor, she said she feels that she has grown a lot, she is stronger and she knows her priorities.

“I started realizing a lot of things based on college experiences, and I feel like a better version of myself than freshman year,” Srinivasan said.

Plainfield, IL junior Greeshma Chilukurisaid her parents stress putting education and school before everything since her mom never finished college because she got married early.

Although they want her to do well, she said has not been under pressure from her parents and she wants to make them proud.

“Being away from home helps me realize how much I don’t do for myself,” Chilukuri said.

Cross-cultural dinners take place every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Bobo Spiritual Life Center.