International Coffee Hour: journey to Taiwan


Pronob Kumar

The featured country for this month’s International Coffee Hour was Taiwan, and a variety of Taiwanese foods was present along with origami.

Lillianna Van De Walker, Features Reporter

International Services hosted its monthly International Coffee Hour with Taiwan as the featured country. The event was hosted on Wednesday, Feb. 1, in Gildemeister Hall. While drinking Taiwanese milk tea and trying various popular Taiwanese snacks, Winona State students and staff that attended also learned how to make origami.

For this month’s International Coffee Hour, there were four Taiwanese students helping with the event. Ya Sin Guo, Tse Ying Huang, Chien Yu Tseng and Po Jui Chen are all studying abroad at Winona State. They are all computer science majors at their home university of Tamkang University in Taiwan.

The activity of the evening involved the international Taiwanese students teaching their fellow American students how to do origami. They instructed the room how to make an origami throwing star and a small origami box. Heather Willis, the student and exchange visitor information system officer and advisor (SEVIS), helped with providing the materials needed such as colorful square papers.

With the help of the international students to advise Willis what to get, she was able to order the Taiwanese snacks provided for the event off of amazon. 

The Taiwanese snacks that were at the event were Little Prince Brand Noodles, which can be compared to uncooked seasoned ramen and was a crowd favorite. There were also two other savory snacks including Want-Want Senbei Rice Crackers and Want Want Sweet Senbei Rice Crackers.

“This one is very famous and it is my favorite”, Ya Sin Guo said excitedly, describing the Little Prince Brand Noodles.

There was also Taiwanese instant milk tea provided which students got to make themselves. Students mixed the instant milk tea powder with hot water and enjoyed the drink while participating in other activities. Along with the Geia instant Taiwanese milk tea, there was also Taiwanese oolong tea available to try.

Professor Emilie Falc, the department chair of the communications department faculty, brought her international communications class to attend the event in order to have an intercultural experience.

“I think it’s beneficial both for the international students and the American students to have these kinds of fun experiences that can be academic and enjoying each other,” Falc said.

The students that joined Falc on this small class field trip sat as a group while learning the skill of origami.

“We were excited to come because we heard there would be fun snacks to try but ended up really enjoying it,” Alana Walsh, a third-year applied communications major at Winona State, said. 

“It was a lot of fun [and] I’m glad I came,” Mylihn Nguyen, another third-year applied communications major said.

International services work with all of the international students to make these events possible. Willis explained that there is a scholarship that the international students can qualify for and one of the projects they do for the scholarship is hosting coffee hour.

“We have the four Taiwanese students here to show off their culture,” Willis said, explaining why this intercultural experience is valuable for both the American students and the Taiwanese students.