UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Hassan Naroo and Aziz Abdelaal know what it’s like to dive head-first into a new culture. The students, both sophomores majoring in petroleum and natural gas engineering, traveled across the Atlantic Ocean in 2014 to attend Penn State.
“When I came here as an international student, everything was new and I didn’t have much of an idea of what was going on. Luckily, the Office of Global Programs organized a special orientation for international students, and that helped a lot,” said Naroo, who was born in Pakistan and lived most of his life in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Abdelaal and Naroo both relied on their classmates and the Office of Global Programs to transition to college life in a new country. Now that they have become acclimated to the culture, they wanted to give back to help other international students.
“I wanted to volunteer in some way to help other international students orient themselves. It’s not easy to be in a new country,” said Abdelaal, who grew up in Cairo, Egypt.
Both students are helping to plan International Culture Night, a new event organized by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. The event is designed to welcome all international Penn State students, regardless of major. Attendees can sample a variety of appetizers from local international food retailers, see performances by members from cultural student organizations, and meet with students from an array of cultural backgrounds.
“Being able to hear about other peoples’ cultures and share your own is important because it helps you become more open minded, and it will help international students integrate more easily into the University,” said Naroo.
International Culture Night will be held from 5:45 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15 on the ground floor of the Deike Building. The event is free and open to the public.