The International Nest provides new programs for international students to connect with each other.
Heather Lewin, undeclared graduate student and coordinator for the International Nest, introduced “Lunch at the Library" as a way to bring international students together. The first event took place Tuesday and allowed students to meet each other while enjoying snacks.
“Today is our first [Lunch at the Library] ever,” Lewin said. “I want a time for international students to get together and socialize and an incentive for them to come, so I provided snacks and drinks so they want to come and hang out and connect to other international students.”
Lunch at the Library is a twice-monthly event where Lewin provides free snacks and drinks for international and domestic students to come to the space. She said she wanted to create programs to accommodate the needs of the students.
“I wanted a place where people can connect, and a space where they feel comfortable and they feel welcomed,” Lewin said.
The International Nest is a new space created in Parks Library in January 2019, it is located in room 34 in the basement of the library. Lewin said she wanted to bring more international students to the International Nest as a way to “breathe” in between classes. This space was created to provide more programs for international students.
As the International Nest is open to all students, including domestic, Lewin said she wanted to find different ways to make international students feel comfortable at Iowa State. Lewin said she has hosted events before, such as game nights and study sessions.
“We did a game night last spring and people really enjoyed hanging out and eating together and talking to other people, so I thought maybe if we provided a time and a space for that — scheduled — more people could come,” Lewin said.
Lewin also said she provided a large map to have students pin the country where they are from to get a better sense of the different places their peers call home.
“International students come from so far to come [to Iowa State] and it’s a big challenge and sometimes domestic [students] don’t always understand how much of a cultural shock it is to be in a new environment with people who don’t speak your primary language,” Lewin said.
"Just having a space where you can kind of relax and connect to other people who are going through something similar," Lewin said. "Just kind of a space where you can kind of breathe and relax and get a mental renewal [to feel refreshed] and if we have a place and a time we can invite them to it, and provide them with something, I think that’s amazing service we can do.”