International students try out speed dating

Valentine’s Day has arrived at Minnesota State University and the Kearney International Center organized its very own speed dating event in the Centennial Student Union Wednesday. International students were invited to experience a night of connections by meeting new people, dancing to music, engaging in a friendly and lovely atmosphere and participating in the main event: speed dating. 

Senior Rohit Paruchuri, leader of the retention team organizing the event and a Maverick Global Ambassador, explained how speed dating helps both international and domestic students build connections. 

“Within this event, it promotes interactive and engaging platforms for all the international students and also domestic students to connect with each other and I think speed dating also allows participants to have brief but also meaningful conversations at the same time. And in a short period of time, I would say they can meet as many people as possible which would also foster more interactions for them,” Paruchuri said.

Sophomore Marwa Adem, a member of the retention team and also a Maverick Global Ambassador, shared how the idea of speed dating was developed for the Kearney Center to celebrate Valentine’s Day. 

“I wasn’t there last semester, but there was an event similar that the Kearney International Center did which was a speed-friending event. So we wanted to bring the idea back because it was all successful last semester. So we wanted to bring it back, but with a different thought. So since it was February, since it was like the month, we’re like ‘How about we just do the speed dating? To add a new idea?’” Adem said.

The Kearny International has the goal of welcoming international students from around the world and helping them adjust and gain a great experience in both academics and community engagement at Minnesota State. 

“I think this is one of the ways for international students to kind of overcome the cultural barriers. And also, I believe that it could help them build confidence and also foster new relationships with people. So speed dating, but also help them to get different perspectives of people, traditions and customs.” Paruchuri said, “But as we have students from so many different countries, and I think to speed dating, they could meet people from different diversities. And a lot of Indonesian students and also, domestic students want to experience this diversity.” 

Both Paruchuri and Marwa agree that this event gives international students the chance to meet new faces and experience the celebration that is Valentine’s Day and engage in different cultural aspects. 

“I think it’s a great event for Valentine’s Day, because I honestly think Valentine’s Day is not only about making romantic relationships, it is also about making connections. So this is one of the ways people can celebrate love, or maybe just friendship in general,” Paruchuri said. “So this would give the students an opportunity to make new friends from connections and maybe also make some new romantic connections. Honestly, I think the event is going to be a very fun and relaxed way for people to meet someone.” 

“For me, if I would think about like a way to celebrate Valentine’s, especially if I didn’t have a date or someone, I’ll be like either doing Galentine’s with my friends, but also the way of having speed dating events, I even heard my friends, they’ll be like ‘Marwa, are you organizing this event? Can we help and just see how it goes?’” Adem said. “So this event, the good part about it is that it doesn’t have to be about dating; you don’t have to date this person you’re going to meet. No, it could be like you meeting the person in front of you, getting to know them. You have them in your class, but you never go to talk with them. So this is a huge opportunity for students.” 

For more information on KIC and global resources, visit https://www.mnsu.edu/academics/global-education 

Write to Anahi Zuniga at anahi.zuniga@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: The Kearney International Center organized a speed dating event for Valentine’s Day in the Centennial Student Union Wednesday evening. (Alexis Darkow/The Reporter)

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