CIS offers a number of organizations for student involvement. Joining one of these organizations is a great way to build community, build your resumé, increase expertise and knowledge, enhance the college experience and build your networking connections, among other things.
Just one of the many organizations CIS offers to students is the International Student Speakers Bureau (ISSB). In this program, international students volunteer to speak and share about their home countries. The goal of the program is to promote global awareness. Group members stay busy with activities ranging from socials and game nights to visiting metro schools and nursing homes, and also participate in OU’s international education week. ISSB members represent the following countries: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Israel, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Taiwan, Turkey, Uganda, Venezuela and Vietnam.
Peyavali Hashipala, from Namibia, is a senior Energy Management major graduating in May 2017. Before coming to OU, she graduated from the United World College in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she learned the importance of celebrating culture and diversity. “That has always been a journey I wanted to continue embarking on here at OU, and ISSB was the perfect fit for me to do just that,” she said. “It gave me the opportunity to teach others more about myself and my country…to celebrate my culture and show others that it is okay to be different, and that even though we might not all look the same, there is so much beauty in cultural understanding.”
Peyavali recommends that international students get involved with ISSB. She says her favorite part about being a member is presenting to different age groups, especially talking about all the wild animals of Namibia and teaching native dances. She loves the opportunities and schedule flexibility ISSB provides her, as well as the opportunity to travel around, learn from the group’s leadership and make friendships. “There are so many international students I know who get frustrated about the stereotypes people have of them or countries, so I strongly believe ISSB gives you a platform to have your voice heard. Plus, what makes us better people is the ability to step outside your comfort zone.”