International club provides students opportunity to learn about other cultures

A+student+gives+a+presentation+on+Malaysia.

Katharine Blackford

A student gives a presentation on Malaysia.

Katharine Blackford, Assistant Activities Editor

International Club hosts presentations and discussions about different cultures from Revere students, usually of students’ place of heritage or a country they are familiar with. 

Jason Milczewski, who has been the club’s advisor for nearly fifteen years, explained what the club has become.

“We’ve become a club that mainly celebrates diversity in school, so we have presenters from different countries and cultures who come to share their experiences and culture. [We typically have] students and sometimes outside presenters, but we haven’t been able to bring in outside speakers this year,” Milczewski said.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, International Club has experienced varying levels of attendance.

“For COVID, [the turnout] is good. I would say between ten and fifteen people, which during a non-COVID year, we would usually hit about thirty. It’s been decent,” Milczewski said.

A typical meeting features a presentation from a student or speaker who is familiar with the country being discussed.

“We’ve had a lot of presentations this year. We did Costa Rica, we did Malaysia, we’ve had Italy, Israel. We’ve had some [people] zoom in, we had a girl zoom in who spent a bunch of time in India,” Milczewski said.

Besides presentations, the club also does volunteer work.

“We usually do volunteer outreach as a part of [the] Rotary Club called Interact, which is a service organization that we’re paired with. [In the past] we’ve raised money for sustainable food in Haiti, we’ve raised money for various things over time, we just haven’t been able to do much this year,” Milczewski said.

Although the club sometimes brings in guest speakers, most of the presentations are done by students.

“It’s a really tight-knit group, and we try to focus on Revere student’s experiences. We also always try to bring our international exchange students into it,” Milczewski said.

Abigail Kayani is a co-president of International Club, along with her sister, Olivia Kayani.

“We have a board of leadership, but this year Mr. Milczewski has heavily relied on Olivia and I to do the work. I would say the two of us are basically co-presidents, at least we do the work of one. I have been on board for two years, but we have been in this president position for one year. We find presenters and make posters for the club” Kayani said.

Kayani attributes her leadership and investment in the club to her interest in travel.

“My dream is to travel around the world and visit different countries. Every place has something unique about it, and I want to experience that firsthand. Hearing these presentations from foreign exchange students or people who have visited these places makes me want to visit them even more. Plus I can learn about places from a personal perspective,” Kayani said.

Besides the presentation, a typical meeting may also feature food from the country of discussion.

“Usually, we had the presenter make some sort of food from the country they were talking about, and then everyone would enjoy the treat while we listened to the presentation. Because of COVID, we ended up only being able to bring food if it was prepackaged, so we hardly ever had food this year,” Kayani said.

Before COVID restrictions, snacks would be served to eat during the meeting. Now, the meetings progress similarly, but without the food.

The present ions start right after school and last for about thirty to forty minutes.

“Mr. Milczewski likes to ask a lot of questions throughout the presentations, while the rest of us just wait until the end. Once we are out of questions, we pack up, it’s really quite a simple procedure,” Kayani said.

Senior Spencer Jones has been a member of International Club for three years.

“My favorite part of International Club is hearing about all the different countries that are presented and their respective cultures,” Jones said.

During his time in the club, Jones gave a presentation.

“I have given a presentation on Costa Rica, I visited family there for two weeks before,” Jones said.

Jones encourages others to join International Club.

“Everyone should join, it’s a really fun and interesting club, and you get free food,” Jones said.