Tag Archives: diversity

Best Experience at Fontbonne

Hello everyone,

This week I’d like to share my best experience studying in Fontbonne University. When I first moved to St. Louis to study at Fontbonne, I was a bit scared since I was moving from California where there’s more people with various ethnicity and races. That’s why when I first moved in here, I was scared as I felt I was very different from others. However, now I’m really thankful that I can came to St Louis to study in here. My classmates here are all very nice and friendly. Before in California, I tended to interact more with people who are the same race or speak the same language as me. But after I came to study here, I developed a very good and close relationship with my fellow classmates. They all appreciated my (non fluent) oral speaking. I’m very pleased that even though we  all come from different cultures, we can still accept each other and explore one another’s cultures. I’m really glad that I can make these lovely classmates at Fontbonne — they make me feel not alone in a totally different place than California.

Friends Around the World

College is a time of development, change, experiences, and fun! During my college years, I have experienced many challenges. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges I have faced is saying goodbye to my global friends. Here at Fontbonne, I have had the privilege of meeting people from all around the world; from Japan to Saudi Arabia and Brazil to Vietnam. Every single international student is unique in their own way and brings so much joy to campus. The downside to this, however, is that they must go at some time. This past fall, I had the pleasure of living on the same residence hall floor as many of the Brazilian and Japanese international students. We become extremely close and there was never a dull moment! As the semester drew to an end, my friends from other countries were preparing to return home.

It was difficult to say goodbye to these people who had become some of my closest friends at Fontbonne- I did not know what Fontbonne was like without them! When it was time to go our separate ways, I wrote a note to each friend of mine and gave them pictures from our time together here at Fontbonne. Since then, I have Skyped with some friends, texted them using the app “Whatsapp”- which is a texting app that can be used with Wifi or cellular data, and used Facebook and Instagram to keep up with them. Although it is difficult to be here without seeing their smiling faces and communicating with them face-t0-face, I am grateful for the technology that we do have to stay in touch and I am even hoping to travel to visit some of them in the upcoming years! I would not trade my time with my international friends for anything; and I always say that I am happy I had the short time I did have with them than no time at all! I encourage everybody to step out of their comfort zone and reach out to others who are different than you. You can learn a great deal about the history, culture, and traditions of other countries by simply talking to your neighbor down the hall!

On that note, the Campus Ministry team at Fontbonne is hosting “Better Together Day” this Tuesday, April 14th from 11am-1pm in the grassy area outside of the library. Students will have an opportunity to sit in a ball pit (yes, a ball pit!) and get to know somebody on campus that comes from a different walk of life or belief system than their own! This is a great way to get to know your peers right here on campus and learn a little about the many religions represented at Fontbonne!


International Bazaar

Fontbonne University might seem like a small place, but there are more than 27 countries represented in the student body! However, it may be difficult to realize this because we are scattered along the different majors and programs that Fontbonne offers.

The International Bazaar on the 18th of November was the perfect event to showcase the diversity from international students that have made Fontbonne their home.

Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, Congo, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Bangladesh, United States and Saudi Arabia each country with their own table and the best part: they all had food to share!

The environment was hectic but a lot of fun, people were going from table to table getting to know students and trying out the different dishes. It was hard to try out all the food! But given that most of the tables run out of their dishes I would say that they were a success.

The best part of the afternoon was when the Brazilian band started playing and two traditional Brazilian dancers came out in full costume dancing! It was the perfect ending for an event that was filled with fun, sharing and great food.

If you missed the International Bazaar this year, then mark it in your calendar for next year! It is an amazing event that will broaden your knowledge about all the other cultures that are part of Fontbonne.

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Photo credit: Elizabeth Tran, Yasser Alotaibi and Fontbonne University.

Acceptance of Diversity

Cultural Food Lab- Northern India


If I’ve learned one thing this year at Fontbonne, it’s cultural competence.  Cultural competence is one of the greatest qualities you can acquire to further your acceptance of the people and cultures around you.  There are may ways to “culture” yourself… Books, forming new friendships & acquaintances and even trying the food of a culture you’ve never tried before.  In my class, Food Pathways of Diverse Cultures, we dive into recipes from places like the Middle East, the Americas,  India and Africa.  It’s truly amazing what happens when you are exposed to traditional foods from cultures other than your own.  I am realizing how much culture is out there that I have yet to experience.  This is an exciting realization for me, because I am passionate about lifelong learning.

The more we learn about cultures and belief systems outside our own bubble, the more likely we are to whole heartedly accept the diverse population we live in. Sometimes we see the world through a narrow scope,  but there is more to see than anyone can even imagine.  If you feel your view may be narrow, try widening it just a smidge, and open up to something you’ve never experienced before :) I promise you won’t regret it!


The Culture of Commuter Life

If you are a commuter student at Fontbonne who cannot afford a parking pass, like me, there is a key component to your day to day experience that most residential students do not get the pleasure of experiencing: commuter bus rides.  Now, it does depend on the time of day that you get to see the widest array of backgrounds on the bus.  However, it only takes three steps up the bus’ stairs to gaze into the eyes of Fontbonne’s diversity.  On an average ride from the commuter lot on Clayton Road to Fontbonne’s campus around 9 a.m. on an average Tuesday morning, I am only a few feet away from:

one international student from Beijing, China

three from Saudi Arabia

one from Iraq

a couple of grad students

a basketball player

a soccer player

a baseball player who I most likely would never get close enough to smell had I not taken the bus and sat next to

a softball player

a professor, and

a bearded, non traditional student clearly practicing a speech of some sort.

These are people I would see as I cautiously cross the yellow sidewalks of Fontbonne on any given day.  There, the cowardly lion inside begs me not to open my mouth asking their name, or what their day requires of them.  But when I am on that 4 wheeled diesel, I cannot help but open my mouth to discover those things.  As I walk up those stairs, I have on my red, glittery slippers.  I take a seat.  I’m inquisitive as I remember that the clock is ticking before the Wizard parks the bus in front of Ryan Hall.

Typically I open a conversation with a joke or a compliment.  One particular instance I started an exchange with a baseball player when we both chuckled from witnessing a poor woman in a car beside us spilling food on her blouse.  I later came to find out that we knew a few of the same people from high school.  On another occasion I offered an international student a ride back to Cotta Hall when it was raining so she would not have to walk home without an umbrella.  We ended up swapping phone numbers, and are currently still friends.  These are just a couple examples of what can happen on a commuter bus without the walls of the academic buildings limiting the probability of meeting new people.

I am beyond thankful that I attend to a school with such a welcoming and diverse atmosphere.  I used to never think there were perks to being a low income student, but when I am on that bus, the culture and the opportunity to learn as much as I can in seven minutes about someone new, is worth more than buying a parking pass.

Diversity University

Hello FBU! One thing that is great about Fontbonne is its extreme value for diversity. In honor of Diversity Week, I enjoyed going to the interfaith panel held in the AMC hall. I can truly appreciate and respect that we all have different beliefs, cultures, and faiths. It is so important to have an open mind about other  religions. I may not agree with their dogmas, beliefs, or rituals but I can understand the passion of having a connection with a higher power. I also learned of a religion that I had never heard of before; Baha’i. I can’t really explain it but it started about a century and half ago. I will be looking it up just to get a better understanding of it. Of course, this panel was facilitated by the religions instructor, Mr. Steve Stopke. I have said it before in another post, but he is definitely a great teacher in his field, and he is part of the reason why I have a fascination about other religions besides my own (Christianity). I hope you all get a chance to experience something different or out of your comfort zone this week, because you will be glad that you did. Check out the weekly e-mails about the events and activities that FBU has going on each week, and find a way to partake in them. Have great, diverse week FBU community!

Let’s Blog :)

Hey everyone, I’m finally getting back into blogging. To start off, I am happy to be back in school. My classes so far are interesting and very educational. Not too long ago, we had the Chinese New Year Dinner at the Mandarin House which was a wonderful event! It’s great to meet so many different ethnicities in one school :) Don’t you love diversity? I sure do!

Anyway, I’m a part of Fontbonne’s International Student Association now and it’s a great opportunity to meet other international students. Of course, anyone is welcomed. Fortunately for me, I got to know Isabella (Izzy) Liu, Toan Vu, Sydney, and many others. There are some exciting events coming up with the organization, so I hope everyone will participate in them!

I guess that will be all for now. Have a great rest of the week! 😀

Rest Assured: One of these days, there WILL be a TARDIS in my front yard.

Daleks. Weeping angels. The TARDIS.

Any idea what I’m talking about? Only if you’re a fan of the British sci-fi show Doctor Who! (In which case, can we be friends?)

As my friend (and fellow blogger) Brooke says, “You never know who’s going to be a Doctor Who fan, but once you find someone who is one, you know you’ll like them.” There’s an immediate bond when two complete strangers find out they both watch Doctor Who. Something about British humor and geeking-out brings people together, I guess.

The event that prompted this quote was when a cookie-jar-sized TARDIS (or for you earthlings, a time machine cleverly disguised as a royal-blue British Police Box) flashed before my eyes as I passed a professor’s office in the East building the other day.  She had a TARDIS on her desk.

I did a double-take.  I gasped.  I about fainted.  In short, I was floored.

See, I’ve been familiar with Doctor Who since forever, thanks to my extended family. They raised me in the old-school Doctor Who tradition, teaching me about the original seasons, the Doctor’s iconic scarf, and the sacred rule of “No Kissing in the TARDIS” (which in the newer seasons has been essentially thrown out the window with suggestive plots, much to the displeasure of the old guard). Only as a senior in high school did I ever meet another person who knew the show. (And, I should add, to know the show is to love it. It’s an extremely well-written show, with complex plots and plenty of witty (and often just plain silly) humor.)

To clarify for the ignorant: The show airs on BBC, BBC America, as well as in reruns on the PBS station down in the Ozarks.  Doctor Who, more commonly referred to as simply “The Doctor,” is a Time Lord who regularly saves the Earth from evil aliens (often the robotic, trashcan-like Daleks or terrifying Weeping Angels) and regenerates his human form periodically, with a different actor introduced as The Doctor every few seasons (note: this switching-out of actors, necessitated by the storyline, has resulted in Doctor Who being the longest-running sci-fi show in the world!). When he regenerates, the people who accompany him on his intergalactic adventures (usually women) change, too.  Hope I haven’t lost you by now.  If you’re still reading, keep going – the crux of the matter is at hand.

Anyway, since I’ve gotten to Fontbonne, I’ve found a BUNCH of people who watch the show and I’ve had some great conversations about which Companions are the best (My vote’s for Amy Pond, btw.). Finally meeting other followers of the show makes me realize the beauty of college: the converging of people from many ways of life results in DIVERSITY – of religion, socioeconomic background, and even television preferences and senses of humor! I’m so glad I’ve found people who like the same things as me:  specifically, a nerdy show that centers on a noble, adorable alien who saves the world (No, not “before bedtime” – that’s the Powerpuff Girls.).

Brooke and I poked our heads into the professor’s office after our class to admire her TARDIS, and she was very excited to find people at the school who appreciated the TARDIS and Doctor Who for all their glory. In an instant, we launched into a conversation about the show and its spin-offs.  See?  I told you there’s a bond.

Gimme a shout-out if you’re a Doctor Who fan! Who’s your favorite Doctor?

(Mine’s David Tennant.)

Diversity at Fontbonne

Fontbonne is such a unique school.  We are very small and very diverse.  I believe that it is such an important part of our lives to be put in diverse atmospheres, so you can learn about how other people are raised and live.  Although we are a Catholic university, we have many different religions that are shared with everyone.  We get to learn about how other people live in 0ur small community.  How people live is another thing that we get to learn while being at Fontbonne, and it makes us appreciate the people around us more.  It is important to understand people’s backgrounds, and here at Fontbonne they make it apart of our every day lives.  Hopefully we will all take what we learn about diversity and take it with us throughout the rest of our lives.

Top 10 Things I’m Thankful For at Fontbonne

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are the top 10 things I’m thankful for at Fontbonne Unviersity:

1. My professors. They all care, and they all go out of their ways to help me succeed.

2. My friends. Some are my age, and some are older, but they’ve all helped to make my first semester at Fontbonne a great one.

3. The Science Department. Though the classes are challenging, they are all geared toward my ultimate life goals.

4. The student activities. Whether it’s listening to a live musician in the DSAC or watching eight students eat ginormous pizzas, there’s always something fun to do.

5. The community. I love walking around Clayton with my friends – it provides a nice bit of air and a great study break.

6. The Theater. Though I’m not a theatre major, I can still help out all the time in Fontbonne’s Black Box, and everyone there is grateful for my help.

7. The exchange program. This semester, Fontbonne isn’t offering the level of Spanish that I need, so the registrar signed me up for the appropriate course at a sister institution.

8. The library. It provides a nice place to study and relax, and the librarians are all more than willing to help me find what I need.

9. The diversity. I love going to school and interacting with students from around the globe. It’s so cool to see how much we all have in common.

10. “Learning More and Being More.” The slogan says it all.