by: Nathan Huynh
At a school the size of the University of Washington, it can truly be difficult to make new friends and find your niche. We all want that comfort of belonging, familiarity, and welcomeness, which is so difficult to find in a place that is still foreign to me even after two years of college. I can only imagine the uneasiness of the 2,100 international students that arrived at the UW this fall. Fortunately for us, we have FIUTS.
I joined FIUTS as a facilitator just at the start of this quarter and what an impact it has already made in my life. At first, I had no idea what I was getting into, but like most things in life, you find what you want when you’re not looking for it, so I looked the other way and signed up to facilitate almost all of the events at International Student Orientation. It may have been the best choice I’ve made in college. Here’s a brief recap of my first FIUTS camp experience, one of the best parts of orientation (though they were all great). The day started off with me boarding a bus with 150 other students that I didn’t know at all. To think that I was going to spend a night with them in the middle of nowhere was crazy. Upon arriving at camp, we had a friendly little competition between different cabins involving silly little games/races such as linking arms with everybody on your team and attempting to pass a hula hoop from one end to the other. The competition got pretty intense pretty quickly and soon everybody was jumping up and down cheering on their teammates. Killa Kitties FTW. After the competition, we had some free choice activities like canoeing, hiking, or if you were brave, American football. Later in the night, we sang campfire songs from all over the world, made s’mores, and even tried swing dancing. It was so much fun that people stayed up as long as their bodies would allow them, or in my case, past what my body allowed. The next morning, students from each country got together to plan a skit representing their country and to perform it in front of everybody else. I wish I had a video camera because many of those skits were certainly YouTube worthy. After the skits, it was time to head back to the U.
The word awesome cannot even describe the awesomeness of camp. I met so many people of all different backgrounds from all over the world, many of which I now call my friends. For me, the best part of FIUTS is going to all the events and seeing students of different faiths and ideologies hanging out together and having the time of their lives. In a world where we are told differently, FIUTS is proof that it’s possible. So, if you want to be a part of the awesomeness that is FIUTS then come right on in to the office! The door is always open (except past 4pm and on the weekends). Lastly, thank you everybody at FIUTS for welcoming me into this family.