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Daniel Chazi Capelo connects to the International Zoom Hour, listening to Ahmed Moustafa talk on the laptop via the video application Zoom. Before the coronavirus pandemic required social distancing, UD’s Office for International Students and Scholars hosted a weekly coffee hour on Fridays to help international students stay connected on campus.

International Coffee Hour goes virtual

Photos courtesy of Daniel Chazi Capelo

Weekly event moves online to keep UD’s international students safely connected

They may have had to brew their own coffee or tea, but the international community at the University of Delaware didn’t let the coronavirus stop them from gathering virtually for International Zoom Hour.  

During a normal week, on-campus international and domestic students gather every Friday in Trabant University Center at International Coffee Hour. This long-standing tradition is one of the largest global events on campus. Students gather to share and learn about different cultures from around the world, catch up with friends before the weekend, and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while meeting new people and making friends. 

The first International Zoom Hour on Friday, March 20 was proof that even the worldwide pandemic can’t stop the deep connections that exist between our international and local communities. More than 60 international students and scholars joined a dozen UD staff members from the Office for International Students and Scholars, Graduate College, Honors, English Language Institute, and more. All of the conversation occurred using the video software application Zoom. The event kicked off with a mini-concert by Daniel Seymour, Concertmaster of the UD Orchestra, and international student artists. Participants played games, talked about healthy habits for staying safe, and spent time with casual conversations in Zoom breakout rooms. 

“Many of our international students remain in Newark even as almost everyone, including the staff, have left campus,” said Matt Drexler, assistant director of international student engagement in the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS). “This isolation is not easy for anyone. We thought it was extremely important to gather some of our campus partners to organize a nontraditional global engagement event. Through these opportunities to connect, OISS continues to support the  academic success and wellness of the global community. We’re overwhelmed by how the campus community has mobilized to support international students and scholars during this difficult time.”

Organized and led by OISS, International Zoom Hour will take place every Friday at 4:00 p.m. for the remainder of the spring semester. The event remains a student-centered time for connection and community and will feature representatives from campus leadership and support units throughout the spring. The University’s Student Wellness and Health Promotion unit and the Career Center, will participate each week to provide support. The event on Friday, April 3 will feature special guests from the UD Alumni Association and an opportunity for networking.

Screen shots of a recent International Zoom Hour show UD students Ahmed Moustafa (left) and Daniel Chazi Capelo.

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