Intercultural Communication Society plans to bring cultural awareness with organization

Itzel Leon

One of Kent State’s newest organizations, the Intercultural Communication Society (ICS), plans to break stereotypes between cultures and bring awareness to diversity.

“We’re focused on breaking stereotypes because even though America is a melting pot, there (are) still a lot of cultural conflicts and cultural stereotypes,” said Jiaqi Zhao, president of ICS. “So, I really want to break (them).”

Zhao changed the name of the organization from the International Communication Society to the Intercultural Communication Society when she became president last semester.

“I feel like there is a need for an international student organization, where we can help the freshman in the School of Communication Studies as well as emphasizing on the intercultural substance,” Zhao said. “Because in communication studies, we have a lot of intercultural related classes. So this student organization can put the knowledge from the textbooks into practice.”

The organization has been around for two years, but Zhao said not many people know about it.

“We are trying to bring more people from different cultures together,” he said. “We’re trying to include as many cultures as we can into the organization.”

ICS holds events every month, with each celebrating a different culture.

“Our ultimate goal is to break the cultural stereotypes and to make this an awesome place for all of us to have fun together, know each other together and know other cultures,” Zhao said.

Mei-Chen Lin, associate professor of communication studies and faculty advisor for ICS, said activities aren’t the only goal for the organization. The group also seeks to make international students and different cultures visible on campus.

“It goes beyond holidays and traditions,” Lin said. “What do international students need? What are the challenges they face when it comes to intercultural issues?”

Though the organization targets communication majors, all students are welcome and encouraged to join, including both international and domestic students.

“We started to have a lot more international students three or four years ago. We’ve always had international students in the (communication) program but we have more international students from China,” Lin said “They really would like to be able to start a student organization that will be a place where international students and the CCI can come together, get to know each other, support each other and introduce different cultures to domestic students in the college and hopefully to the university.”

Lin said ICS has had a great start and the students who run the organization have put a lot of effort into it.

“I’m really looking forward for this organization to grow into something that not just international students can participate in,” Lin said. “Domestic students are welcome to join (as well as) anyone who’s interested in international and intercultural relationships and issues, no matter where (they)’re from.” 

Itzel Leon is the ethnic affairs reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].