I-House, a Gateway to Love: Mexico Meets Bangladesh

Fall 2015 was the beginning of a new journey for Dania Orta-Alemán. A native of Mexico City, Mexico, she came to UC Berkeley as a master’s candidate at the School of Public Health. Little did she know that an I-House Gateway Fellowship dinner the following year would lead her to her soulmate.  The dinner was to honor fellowship donors and recipients. Zunaid Omair, a Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering from Bangladesh, happened to be at the same event. 

“We were just sitting at the same table and I remember he changed his card to sit by my side,” she said. Although he had to change tables again, Alemán said she was able to get his contact information. “I asked for his Facebook, and when he first told me his name, I didn’t understand it,” she said, giggling. “I just pretended I understood it. I added him on Facebook just to make sure I got the name correct and, yeah, that’s how we met, basically.” Continue reading

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Last Chance to Support I-House in 2019

Sharing a message on behalf of I-House Executive Director Hans Giesecke:

Best wishes for peace, prosperity, and progress in the New Year

If you have already made a gift in 2019, we sincerely thank you. If you still would like to make your annual gift, it’s not too late to donate.

I-House residents created these peace dovesDear I-House Friends,

As we make the transition to 2020, I-House is most grateful to all who have participated in our Annual Appeal or otherwise made a recent gift. If you haven’t yet had a chance, please consider donating now or visiting the online version of our Annual Appeal.  If you still would like to make your 2019 gift, it’s not too late!  With your support, I-House is able to foster a more just and peaceful world through intercultural understanding and mutual respect. Continue reading

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Winter Holiday Traditions from I-House Residents

Season’s Greetings I-House! For many, the winter holiday season is a time to spend with friends and family as well as take time for reflection. From Hanukkah to Christmas to New Year’s, our residents have a unique way of celebrating the holidays at home.

“Christmas in Egypt is celebrated in January,” said Deena Sabry, a resident from Cairo, Egypt who studies at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Sabry who is Muslim, acknowledged the Christmas celebrations in Egypt given her country’s large Coptic Christian population.  For New Year’s, Sabry said celebrations are up to the individual. “It truly just depends on the person and their family and what they want to do,” she said, adding that some people might spend it with their friends partying or stay home with their family.

Christmas and New Year are a big deal in Nigeria, according to I-House resident Gbemisola Akinsipe. “I’m from a Christian family . . . so we usually have a Christmas service or carol, and then for new year we pray together.” Akinsipe said that beyond the church activities, the holiday season is “a time for family, food, and a lot of gifts.” Continue reading

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The I-House Connection: December 2019

Projects for Peace; Social Media Ambassador; Grad Student Feature; and Hong Kong Meets Mainland China Podcast

I-House ConnectionDecember 2019

Dear Alumni & Friends,

Greetings from Berkeley! We are delighted to share a peace-building initiative, highlights from some of our current residents, and the latest episode of the “From All Corners” podcast series. Continue reading

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International House Annual Appeal

Sharing a message on behalf of I-House Executive Director Hans Giesecke:

The Mission of International House:
To foster intercultural respect and understanding, lifelong friendships, and leadership skills for a more peaceful world.

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I would like to convey my personal thanks to our alumni and supporters who have already provided financial contributions during our annual appeal. If you have not yet had an opportunity, we hope that you will consider supporting I-House and will make a gift now to help future residents have this singular opportunity to enjoy such a life-changing experience.

Please Make a Gift to I-House Now

Continue reading

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Happy Thanksgiving from International House Berkeley

2019-20 I-House Scholarship Recipients with Executive Director Hans Giesecke, Ph.D.

2019-20 I-House Scholarship Recipients with Executive Director Hans Giesecke, Ph.D.

Dear Alumni and Friends,

In this season of gratitude, I am writing to thank you for helping to make the dream of International House a reality for our residents from around the globe. Continue reading

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The World Is My Family

Finding a Sense of belonging and building intercultural connections

My first encounter with residents at the International House was during the orientation retreat that was set up by the Program Office at the Point Bonita YMCA Camp. Within seconds, I was in a room with a Japanese-American undergraduate, an international graduate student from Japan, an engineering student from China, and an American student from the Bay Area. On the way to the camp, I sat next to a German student studying ethics and we had a conversation about compassion, race, morality, and the differences in our countries’ perspectives. Continue reading

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