Every Thursday evening, citizens from several different countries meet to share food, conversation, and time. They are international students, hailing from countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, or Korea, who have come to study at De Anza College in Cupertino.
Hosted by Valley Church, International Student Fellowship has been meeting for over ten years. Part of International Students Incorporated, ISF in particular serves the international students of De Anza College by providing them with free dinners every week and helping them acclimate to the culture. They also host a welcome dinner every quarter to greet new students. The volunteers make an effort to become familiar with the students, and help them with issues from car insurance to editing college application essays.
ISF is not only helpful, but is also a lot of fun. They organize white elephant gift exchanges for Christmas, pumpkin carving for Halloween, Easter egg hunts for Easter, and hotpot for Chinese New Year. Outside of meetings, volunteers organize days long hikes, volunteering activities, and broomball games.
Through all these various activities, volunteers hope to make the experience of being an international student easier. The volunteers acknowledge and hope to relieve the stress of school and being far away from family. They seek to create a place where students feel they have a home away from home, a place where they have a community to rely on.