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Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

Friendship through Food: International Friendship Club Creates Community by Sharing Cultures

The+International+Friendship+Club+hosts+meetings+every+second+Tuesday+of+the+month+and+organizes+meetings+in+accordance+with+national+heritage+months+and+Children%E2%80%99s+International+Summer+Villages+%28CISV%29+representative+schedules.+%E2%80%9CIt%E2%80%99s+important+to+create+these+connections+because+our+world+is+currently+so+divided%2C%E2%80%9D+co-founder%2C+club+president+and+sophomore+Chole+Grace+Chen+said.+%E2%80%9CWe+want+our+club+as+a+safe+space+where+everyone+from+different+cultures+can+be+able+to+freely+express+themselves.%E2%80%9D
Olivia Ganes
The International Friendship Club hosts meetings every second Tuesday of the month and organizes meetings in accordance with national heritage months and Children’s International Summer Villages (CISV) representative schedules. “It’s important to create these connections because our world is currently so divided,” co-founder, club president and sophomore Chole Grace Chen said. “We want our club as a safe space where everyone from different cultures can be able to freely express themselves.”

Food is universal: it has the power to transcend cultural boundaries and unite people regardless of their background. Members of the International Friendship Club use food to forge connections and gain a better understanding of the diverse community at Portola High. 

The club provides a safe space where students share and interact with their unique experiences through delicious dishes and beverages. In the future, they are planning to foster international friendships through community outreach, monthly meetings and cultural activities, according to co-founder, club president and sophomore Chloe Grace Chen. 

“It’s a friendship club among all nationalities and it isn’t specific to any culture or ethnicity, making it a more inclusive and welcoming environment,” Chen said. 

For many members, the club serves as a way to meet people from around the world and volunteer for the community through sharing cultural traditions. By creating a welcoming environment for everyone, the club creates an interconnected network of friendships that extend beyond meetings. 

“We get together once a month, do charity and meet with other people in other clubs,” club member and sophomore Addisyn Wilcox said. “Also, we do pen pals and just collaborate with each other a lot.”

Throughout the year, the club hosts events to alleviate stress and build a sense of belonging on campus. For instance, members organized a Christmas Potluck to uplift each other during exam season and as a way to experience different comfort foods, according to co-founder, club president and sophomore Keerthana Pillai. 

“We brought in samosas and other cultural foods, and created friendship bracelets as a group to sell and raise money for human rights organizations,” Pillai said. “It was right before finals week, so it really was just a fun, relaxing thing to do and everyone had a great time.”

The club also participates in activities that are an extension of Children’s International Summer Villages (CISV), a global nonprofit that works to educate children on global peace and diplomacy. 

“Our main message is to welcome everyone from all walks of life in hope of creating a better world,” Pillai said. “Our club brings awareness to cultural events, such as heritage months, and consistently invites all of our club members to participate in nonprofit activities, giving everyone an opportunity.”

At its core, the International Friendship Club is a platform for students to exchange ideas through the universal language of food. As a result, the club strives to create a safe space for everyone to feel included. 

“Food plays a very important role in our club,” Chen said. “We serve food every meeting, and we try to purchase it from different cultures so that students may experience different cuisines and broaden their horizons. In a way, food makes sure that every member’s culture is incorporated and included in our club.” 

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About the Contributors
Olivia Ganes, Staff Writer
Olivia Ganes is a staff writer for her first year on the Portola Pilot. She’s excited to see the different types of stories and issues her and her fellow members produce this year. Her favorite part of the Pilot is taking pictures of sports events. When she’s not stressing out trying to finish her math homework in the last 10 minutes of class, you can find her listening to Daniel Caesar on full blast in the back of the room with her best friend, Nina.
Mia Jong, Centerspread Editor
Mia Jong is the Centerspread Editor and Features Photo Editor for her second year on the Portola Pilot. She loves to create, whether it be with a paintbrush and canvas or a pen and paper, and she can’t wait to write more stories with her fellow Pilot members. In her free time, you can find her chucking onions in the game Overcooked, scrolling through StackOverflow forums to fix her code, creating sticker designs, and watching Pixar movies. She believes everyone has a unique story to tell and hopes to give a voice to the Portola community through her writing.
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