The 3C Dinners program is breaking cross-cultural boundaries for international and domestic students.
The 3C stands for “Cross-Cultural Conversation”. The idea of the 3C Dinners program was developed by Veronica Whitt, coordinator of international student services, and her summer intern, Ivan Anyaegbu, computer science graduate from Abilene.
“The idea developed from the need for more venues and opportunities to create safe environments for both our international students and domestic students to learn about other cultures through sharing personal testimonies about their experiences with the topics being discussed,” Whitt said. “It provides a less intimidating space for students to ask questions and share their stories for the purpose of seeking to understand different perspectives. Something else this provides is an opportunity for developing friendships with people who are different from you.”
The program launched this semester with the first dinner on Sept. 20 at the home of Larry Henderson, Bible instructor and coordinator for World Wide Witness. At the dinner, participants discussed nonverbal communication in a cross-cultural context.
The Center for International Education partners with the Halbert Center for Missions and Global Service in holding the events.
“Given that the main goal is to encourage cross-cultural understanding, we try to be intentional about who we invite to these dinners to ensure that there is a fairly balanced representation of varying cultures,” Whitt said.
All international students and members of the International Student Association (ISA) are invited to attend.
Dr. Neal Coates, professor and department chair of political science and criminal justice, hosted the second 3C Dinner on Nov. 16, where those in attendance discussed cross-cultural misconceptions.
Coates said approximately 20 people came to enjoy pizza and conversation.
“It was a very good time to hear from people from probably ten or more different countries about their experience in talking to others and getting to know each other here at ACU and Abilene,” Coates said.
Future dates for 3C Dinners have not yet been established; however, Whitt said they plan to have one in February and one in March for the spring semester.
“It was a good thing and I was glad to host it with my wife,” Coates said. “ACU teachers, we love to have students in our houses whenever we can.”