Game Night promotes cultural understanding

International students can integrate themselves with the help of a night of friendly competition.


When some Ohio University students come to campus in the fall, they are essentially thrown into a new world where simple things Americans take for granted can be strange and foreign.

The Ohio Program of Intensive English helps these international students immerse themselves in American culture through various classes and activities in order to help them better succeed in their studies.

“Our mission is to help incoming international students get ready for full academic classes through both, their language skills and their culturalization,” said Rob Campbell, an OPIE instructor and organizer of Wednesday game nights.

To achieve this mission, OPIE hosts a Wednesday activity series that beginning-level students, which are newly learning to speak English, can attend.

Previous Wednesday activities included a tour of Ping Recreational Center for incoming international students, a trip to the Athens Historical Society, a tour of the Kennedy Museum of Art and an International Game Night.

“I think they responded best to the Kennedy Museum of Art,” said Kara Campbell, an OPIE instructor, unrelated to Rob Campbell.

The students were able to put Facebook “like” signs in front of the art pieces that they liked the most. One of the most “liked” was a statue portraying balance. Kara said students liked this statue most because they could relate to balancing school, work and home life.

“When we went to Kennedy Museum of Art, the students were deeply involved in the topic of contemporary art and learned more advanced vocabulary for their level, such as narcissistic, infatuation, obsession and balance,” said Olga Holland, an OPIE instructor for intermediate level students.  “It was amazing to see them smile and grasp such complicated concepts outside the classroom.”

Students were also able to learn some of the customs of the American culture through their interactions with others. OPIE welcomes native English-speaking students to the two remaining International Game Nights to play board games and interact with the international students.

“Part of why we put these (events) on is to give OPIE students exposure to the language,” Kara said. “Becoming familiar with conversation is very important.”



If You Go:

What: OPIE International Game Night

When: 5 p.m., Wednesday

Where: Baker Bobcat Student Lounge

Admission: Free




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