Connecting with Culture at Northwood: A student speak

Rhea Gupta, Staff Writer

Northwood’s clubs are a true reflection of student values, with many clubs uniting students with shared religions, cultures, ideologies, interests or goals. This is clearest in the various culture and religion clubs on campus, which are a way for students to connect with their roots or learn about other backgrounds and languages. Here are some ways Northwood students have learned about other cultures or connected to their personal culture and religion on campus:

Chinese Club

Senior Elsa Cai spins an eight-pointed handkerchief in a demonstration of Errenzhuan, a traditional Chinese folk dance. (Ellie Chan)

“Being a part of a Chinese club has been really valuable to me. Throughout my three years with the Chinese club, I was able to learn more about not only aspects of my modern culture but also about ancient Chinese history, like the history behind Chinese calligraphy. I was born in China and came to a whole different country, but at the same time, I was surrounded by people who shared the same social background as me. That common language and culture helped me become a better Chinese-American.”

– Elsa Cai (12), club president

Ecclesia

Senior Claire Chow talks about her faith journey through sharing her testimony with Ecclesia Club. (Ellie Chan)

“On top of the activities we have during the meetings, the meetings also have time for people to just talk to each other and interact with one another. It’s more than just personal beliefs, the club helped me build my work ethic. Especially through conducting and planning club specific events like United in Christ which was a worship night led by Ecclesia, we really just brought together the community Ecclesia has built. Yes, joining clubs is fun but I think what people don’t realize is how much clubs at Northwood can really just be family.”

– Joy Bae (11), vice president

French Club

French Club members practice speaking in French during a club meeting. (Ellie Chan)

“I joined the French Club because I was already enrolled in the French 2 course during my freshman year and this club allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of both the French language and also French culture. This club has taught me that French is more than Rom-Coms and the Parisian girl aesthetic. The culture is extremely rich in its art history and sophisticated in all aspects, ranging from architecture to its food.”

– Kim Huynh (12), club president

Muslim Student Association

Members of Namaste Northwood and Muslim Student Association draw intricate henna designs in a collaboration with Art Club. (Ellie Chan)

“I wanted to join MSA because I wanted to have a community that shared my culture, interests and knowledge about my religion; being there to discuss and share about our religion in and of itself creates a shared religion for us all. Through our culture, we not only share religion but we share food, we share music and we share traditions. And the differences we have provide an opportunity for discussion to find that blend in our culture. MSA has allowed me to become far closer to what I believe in and what I pursue. Joining a club pertaining to a culture or religion that applies to you allows you to flourish and enhances your connection with culture or religion.”

– Omar El-Aloosy (11), lead Khutbah director

Namaste @ Northwood

“To be completely honest, I actually felt embarrassed about joining Namaste @ Northwood because I thought it was ‘weird’ to embrace my culture, but my sister prompted me to join since she had a great experience from it. Reluctantly, I went to the meetings but over time I started getting more comfortable with the club and really made strong friendships that I cherish so much to this day. The club members become more than club members; they really become like family and rely on each other. If you ask anyone why they joined, it’s most likely because of other people—not for college apps, competitions or credit—and just to be immersed in South Asian culture and have a good time with people.”

– Nikki Doiphode (12), club president