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Culture and coffee: SVC holds first International Coffee Hour

By Erin Brody, Arts & Culture Editor

Traveling is typically at the front of college students’ minds. Maybe one would study abroad, take a travel course, or join in on trips with student organizations like Activities Programming Board. Others are more curious about what other countries have to offer, but maybe traveling is not quite within reach. No matter the stance on travel, students can ask questions during the newly formed International Coffee Hour.

“I think a lot of our students aren’t aware of how many international students we have on campus,” said Director of Global and Community Engagement Jody Marsh. “By doing these International Coffee Hours, it’ll allow our students to get to know our international students and will give us an opportunity to talk about studies abroad.”

(Brody) Students congregating in the Latimer Library where the International Coffee Hour was held.

The first International Coffee Hour was held Feb. 28 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. on the first floor of Latimer Library. The Hour’s focus was on Hungary and the teaching assistantships offered for male students at the Benedictine High School of Pannohalma.

One graduate of the high school was Domonkos Szilika, who attends medical school back in Hungary and is here at Saint Vincent for one year. While in high school, Szilika met SVC alumnus Danny Whirlow (C’21), who taught at the Benedictine High School with two other Saint Vincent graduates.

“Even when we were in Hungary, we knew when we came back that we wanted to do something to keep the [teaching assistant] program going,” Whirlow said.

Whirlow then emailed President of Saint Vincent Father Paul Taylow, OSB, and Executive Vice President Dr. Jeffrie Mallory, Ed.D. The two of them redirected Whirlow to

Marsh, and Whirlow and Marsh began to bounce ideas about advertising the teaching assistantship.

“I’m happy it came together so easily,” Whirlow added.

As for Szilika, he fondly looks back at his time at the Benedictine High School, which is where he met Whirlow and heard about Saint Vincent College.

“[Whirlow] actually taught us an English class as a T.A., and I enjoyed his company because he was a native English speaker and almost our age,” Szilika said.

And because of that experience, Szilika decided to apply for a scholarship from his high school to Saint Vincent, and he won.

“I just wanted this connection to maintain between Saint Vincent and Pannonhalma,” Szilika said.

Szilika’s sentiment lines up greatly with Marsh’s mission with International Coffee Hours.

“Just a chance if someone has a question about Hungary or their culture or anything, they have an open way for questions,” Marsh said.

Marsh also hopes for International Coffee Hours to continue twice a month throughout the year, and she wants students to realize the “potential” that comes along with this. While interest in study abroad can be piqued, Marsh wants International Coffee Hours to start a conversation with international students about what their life in their home country is like, if there’s any problems that Saint Vincent students should be aware of, and, most importantly, the best ways to help.

As Marsh said: “A lot of these students are here, their countries are in civil unrest, so it’s nice for them to have an opportunity to talk about it because you might otherwise not know.”


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