Meet some students from International House

Aravind Raju

IH RESOC President

Name: Aravind Raju

Degree: Renewable Energy Engineering (Honours)

Hometown: Chennai, India

What makes IH so special?

It is more than just a student accommodation - it is home. The friends I’ve made here are lifelong and there’s comfort knowing that I can crash at any of their places when I visit their home countries later in the future. Over the years, the college has integrated numerous meaningful traditions like study breaks, which give us the chance to embrace new cultures and customs.

What’s your favourite dining hall meal?

Yum cha and fried rice haha. They always show up on the menu when least expected, but once it’s there you bet we’re all over them.

How do you spend your free time?

For sports, my go-to is tennis and badminton on the weekends. When you find me in the reading room (very likely) I’m either working or geeking out over clean energy articles haha.

What’s your favourite memory of IH?

There was one night where most of IH gathered in the games room to play games and party till late - even some ex-residents couldn’t resist to join in. It was, hands down, one of the best nights I’ve ever had.

Any advice to incoming IH residents?

Make the most of your time, especially if you are an international student. IH is a melting pot of residents from various cultural backgrounds - every resident has a special story to tell. We’re all warm and fuzzy folks haha, so don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone - once upon a time, holding a RESOC position was something I never envisioned, now here I am!

Katrina Williams

Resident and past RESOC Sports Director

Name: Kat Williams

Degree: Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)

Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand

Why did you choose IH?

I was drawn to the interior of the building because it has so much character!

How do you spend your free time?

I love playing sports, especially volleyball and badminton. But when I’m feeling lazy, I love watching movies or T.V. shows with my friends in the T.V. room.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Telekinesis

What have you learnt during your time at IH?

I have learnt to celebrate everyone’s differences and see the value that each individual person brings to the community.

Any advice to incoming IH residents?

Be yourself and bring fish food to feed our Koi fish!

Zoe Ramirez

2021 IH RESOC President

Name: Zoe Ramirez

Degree: B. Computer Science

Hometown: Sydney, Australia

Why did you choose IH?

I’ll be honest. A lot of people choose IH because it’s the cheapest accommodation on campus - but the reason they choose to stay is a whole different question. IH presents an alternative perspective to college life, providing a healthy balance between work and play. The diverse personalities and cultures you can find in college ensure that everyone feels included, and most importantly, feels at home.

What makes IH so special?

It really falls within the name “International House”. No other college contains the vast number of nationalities and cultures that IH does; promoting international understanding between residents. Our iconic “Study Breaks” are an example of this, where students present their country’s famous food, locations and cultural practices to the rest of the college. What makes IH so special is therefore the fact that there is no “mold” that residents have to fit into. Your unique identity and perspective only contributes to the college, and is precisely what makes this house “international”.

How do you spend your free time?

I personally love all things art and music, which is why I feel so privileged that IH has provided a platform for me to express my hobbies. Oftentimes, you can catch residents having a late-night jam sesh in the games room, or doing a painting night together. If you’re lucky, you can even get to perform in IH opening/closing dinners!

What have you learnt during your time at IH?

I honestly didn’t know the definition of diversity until I moved into IH. You’d think that differences in cultures or opinions could potentially breed an environment of tolerance as opposed to acceptance, but instead it promotes a deeper level of understanding. Living in college really teaches you to put yourself in another person’s shoes, and view the world in their eyes.

What motivated you to join as RESOC President/Vice President?

To be honest, I’ve never regarded myself as a leader - but the encouragement from staff and other residents is what motivated me to step up. My goal was simple: to help residents have fun in the midst of a pandemic; and although the last 2 years have been unprecedented in college life, I do believe we did the best that we could. I just wanted to give back to the community, as IH really was my home - a place that fostered many friendships and great memories.