Updated: May 20
Sharing cultures over coffee
By: Shaili Sanikapally, GSU Student Contributor
Taslim began her Ph.D. in computer science at Georgia State in August of 2019, just three weeks after getting married. Prior to coming to the U.S., she thought Western culture tended to be very individualistic, which was a stark contrast to her family-oriented upbringing in Pakistan. Amy helped change Taslim’s opinion.
The pair have been Amigos for three years now. Amy previously had two Amigos before meeting Taslim, who were both in the U.S. for just a semester each. She notes how AMIS is special because it allows her the opportunity to learn so much about a country without having to travel. She says she learns more about Pakistani culture and customs through her conversations with Taslim than she probably would visiting because she gets to hear all about Taslim’s life. Amy has had the chance to travel overseas and stay in peoples’ homes before and wants to be able to reciprocate the generosity she received. AMIS not only holds events and socials, but also allows its Amigo Partners the chance to invite students to have home cooked meals and share good conversations.
Taslim and Amy have both loved their time with AMIS. Taslim recalls visiting Kansas during the holidays and being hosted with another international student from Japan who did not hold any faith-based belief, but who was interested in hearing about hers, as she was about his and their host family. Taslim says that it is not only about the validation or invalidation of someone’s beliefs, but simply about getting to know them. AMIS allows her to meet new
people and see their authentic relationships with their cultures.
Amy agrees that AMIS provides a safe and equally respectful space to discuss all forms of beliefs and sees it as gaining a better understanding of different perspectives. AMIS not only bridges cultural gaps but also connects people within the city. Amy remembers meeting her first Amigo who was from Korea and had been attending Emory for two weeks without knowing anyone in the city. After taking her to an AMIS event at another college, Amy introduced her Amigo to other Korean students attending Emory sitting right in front of them.
Amy and Taslim both agree that AMIS is a great platform to meet new people and build connections. And the best part is keeping those friends when you’re across the globe again.
Taslim is so impressed with AMIS, that she hopes to do something similar when she returns home. Amy notes that AMIS is growing not just in Atlanta community, but in the international community, as well. Each student that returns to their home country and shares their AMIS experiences makes a difference. It’s as simple as a conversation over a cup of coffee.
Grab a coffee and make a difference today by becoming an Amigo Friendship Partner here.