The annual International Student Club (ISC) Coffeehouse will take place this Saturday, March 20, in Sauder Concert Hall. The event celebrates the many international cultures and students of Goshen College.Last year, the coffeehouse was one of countless events cancelled due to COVID-19. Yujin Kim, a junior from Chuncheon, South Korea, was relieved when it was confirmed that the event would be taking place this semester.
“I’m just really happy that it’s happening this year,” she said. “Last year, everything was just closing down and being cancelled, including the coffeehouse. I was going to perform with my sister; it was her senior year, so it was really sad.”
This year, the event is back on — and with a live audience.
Goshen College students who have reserved tickets in advance will be able to attend the event in-person, socially distanced throughout Sauder Concert Hall. In past years, the event has also been preceded by a student-prepared dinner featuring foods from all over the world, but this tradition will not be taking place this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Meghna Das, a senior from Mussoorie, India, said that the absence of the dinner is one of this year’s biggest changes to the tradition of coffeehouse.
“Usually, the students will all cook different foods…and then you get to sample food from different countries,” she said.
Other changes to the traditional coffeehouse format include performance length and number of participants.
Priscilla Tanujaya, a junior from Jakarta, Indonesia, noted that the event has a one-hour time limit and that no more than 10 people can be onstage at the same time.
“And we’re going to wear masks of course,” she said. “Safety first!”
Through Goshen College’s livestream capability, audiences are able to enjoy the ISC Coffeehouse from all around the world. Kim remembers watching the event before she began attending GC.
“When I was back in Korea…I used to watch the live performance through the livestream because my siblings were performing,” she said. “So I knew about it before coming to Goshen College, and I was really excited to be a part of it.”
This year, the event will feature 10 acts, including a guitar performance, a ballet, various singing acts and a Bollywood dance.
Eden George, a senior from Bangalore, India, appreciates the ways in which the coffeehouse encourages international students to take center stage.
“What I really appreciate about coffeehouse is that it’s a space for international students to be able to come and celebrate their cultures with everybody here,” she said. “I think that a lot of times the international [students] kind of just get grouped together… but every international [student] has their own culture that they’re coming from.”
Tanujaya is grateful for the opportunity to “dance and interact with other international students,” while Das enjoys being able to “share [her] culture” with the Goshen College community.
“I feel like it’s our one chance on campus to sort of showcase it,” Das said.
The coffeehouse is International Student Club’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and all proceeds from ticket sales and donations go toward funds for future club activities and Project Arunima, an organization supporting autistic people in India. Those who would like to donate to International Student Club can visit www.goshen.edu/give/isc.