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Not to be mistaken with the Bridges to Success scholarship program, Bridges International is a Christian service that welcomes international students to the US, helps them adjust to life and culture here, and offers spiritual resources to those who are interested.
One of the staple events Bridges holds at Valencia East Campus is their International Coffee (and Tea) Hour. Coffee Hour is a time for international students to hang out with other internationals and American students, as well as have discussions to enhance English skills and learn about American culture. “The hope is that students can get connected with others while also being able to practice their English, make new friends, and have a safe place to share the challenges of being an International student. Many students experience culture shock and it can be very difficult to adjust,” explained Bridges staff member, Stephanie Flores.
Bridges student leader, Kimberly Dang says, “We’ve only had a few International Coffee Hours so far, and there are close friendships already being made. I love seeing International students enjoying each other’s company. My hope for the future is that they continue to flourish and enjoy the friendships that are being created.”
Bridges International is unique in its desire to build a community and give back but also help International students connect with American families. Bridges has a heart to partner on campus with the International Club and other clubs to serve the community and the world. Building relationships through social interaction is one of the main principles of Bridges, and International Coffee Hour was created with the intention of putting that into practice. Valencia East’s International Coordinator, Michelle Torres states, “I believe a conversation hour that helps international students practice English is a great benefit. It also helps international students get connected with others which may lead to meaningful friendships.”
As Bridges is not yet an official club at Valencia, they partner in events with Bridges UCF, in an effort to establish a bigger community that will be waiting for internationals students who have a transfer plan. Bridges is active at UCF as well as many other campuses across the country.
Bridges International Coffee Hour is currently every Wednesday from 2:30pm to 4:30pm in Building 8-149. All other upcoming events will be posted on their Facebook group – Valencia East Bridges International or Instagram @BridgesatValencia. International students who specifically plan to transfer to UCF can see information on their Bridges events through their Facebook page – Bridges at UCF.
For more information on the club itself, visit bridgesinternational.com