The nice thing about college is that, no matter how unique your heritage may be, there’s likely another student on campus who shares your cultural background. In fact, it’s likely that there’s a whole group of students with whom you can identify. Whether you’re looking to meet people with similar ancestry or meet people whose heritage differs from yours, joining a multicultural group is great way to start. Not only will these connections enrich your college experience, but they can also result in long-lasting friendships, networking ties, and a beefed-up résumé.
The types of groups available are as diverse as the people they comprise. Here’s a rundown of the types of groups available on most college campuses.
- Social: You can meet multicultural students who share your hobbies and passions by, for instance, joining the anime club or submitting poems to your school’s multicultural magazine. By signing on to the multicultural programming board or student union, you can also play a role in bringing events to your campus. These may include concerts, plays, step shows, movie nights, and speakers, such as authors and celebrities.
- Political: Joining up with like-minded students, and you can make a real difference. For example, attend a meeting of your school’s Amnesty International or NAACP chapter, or help register students to vote.
- Academic: Keep tabs on what’s happening in your field of study by linking up with a group that pertains to your major. For instance, join the East Asian studies club or meet up with a Russian conversation group to keep your language skills sharp. If you’re thinking of changing majors, then joining a related club is a great way to explore the field first.
- Recreational: By joining a group that’s physically active, you can ward off the freshman 15 while making new friends. Try joining African dance troupe, attending a salsa society meeting, or signing up for the kendo club to learn the art of Japanese fencing. Check your book of course offerings to see if you can earn class credit while you get in shape.
- Religious: Even within a single religion, there are unique cultural styles of worship. Christian students can choose from groups that target their specific culture, such as The Impact Movement for African American students and Epic Movement for Latino students. These organizations offer Bible studies and worship services, organize social gatherings, hold retreats, and host national and regional conferences. To find a specific organization that fits your needs, browse your college’s Web site, as well as networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. Also attend the back-to-school activities fair, watch for flyers on campus bulletin boards, and speak to your resident advisor.