Dialogue Over Dinner

By Megan Watson, Marketing, Communications & Stakeholder Relations Intern

In the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to do many unique and challenging things as a result of my internship here at The International Center. One of the things that meant the most to me was hosting a Dinner Hospitality (a volunteer opportunity open to anyone in the community) for international visitors from Namibia, Kuwait, and Singapore.
I was excited to learn that I had the opportunity to host these visitors and was even more intrigued upon learning that my mother & I would be hosting visitors with specific dietary concerns that would keep them from drinking alcohol, eating meat, and eating certain types of foods (mostly dependent upon their method of preparation). This challenge proved to be one we could counquer, as we decided to cook a meal that was completely vegan, in order to give the visitors an “American” meal that was also comfortable for them.
It was amusing that one guest, from Namibia, was absolutely obsessed with frozen yogurt. She first tried the sweet dessert during her time in Washington, D.C. and insisted that we stop at Orange Leaf upon leaving the house after dinner. It was funny to see just how alike young adults really are, no matter where they come from.
Upon dropping them off at the hotel, the three visitors gifted me with bracelets, accessories, and wall decor that represented their unique states. This meant so much to me, as I love collecting things from around the world. Although the visitors have left Indianapolis, I wear my “Namibia” bracelet almost every day and enjoy getting to do so. Through the IVLP Program, as implemented by The International Center, I was able to learn so much about these three different cultures and through interaction with this visitors, I opened a dialogue through “citizen diplomacy.”
Want to become a citizen diplomat? Visit our website and find out how! www.internationalcenter.org!
Megan Watson International