The other night, my good friend FuYin invited to me to attend a celebration on campus to see a performance and many familiar faces, at the ICB Club’s annual Spring Festival Banquet, hosted in the Tivoli Turnhalle. The night included a raffle, dumplings, and a performance from various members of the club.

I was honored that he made a point to invite me. I became friends with FuYin, a Beijing native and Economics major at CU Denver, on a Maymester study abroad class, Narratives of New China. On the first day of the trip, I told him I recognized him from our Mediation class the previous semester, and this camaraderie helped us to form an unbreakable bond: we became confidants, tour guides, and friends.

But in Mediation class, we did not communicate— we didn’t speak even once. It wasn’t until we sat right next to each other on the other side of the world would we find the right words to say to each other.

I wouldn’t give up this friendship for anything—he protected me in China, took me to the right restaurants, made sure I got a good picture in Tiananmen Square, and guarded me from the unpredictable traffic of many of China’s urban streets. I was lucky to have such a great friend.

Now, both back in Denver, I struggle to repay the favor—not that FuYin mildly expects it. I take him to restaurants and occasionally edit his papers for tricky grammar, but I don’t think I could do more than just be his friend. It’s only too bad I had to travel over 6,000 miles to do that.

On page five we cover a new friendship club, COMMrads, which seeks to pair international and local students. This program demonstrates a key that we’ve been missing at this school. ICB students come to the US to learn about culture, practice and polish their English, earn a degree from CU Denver, and make friends—but not just among their ICB peers.

Members of the ICB club have made amazing friendships that will no doubt last a lifetime, and anyone in attendance of Monday’s event can recognize this from the smiles, hugs, and joyous conversation at tables. Joining in this friendship is all too easy. If you’re not directly involved with the international students’ community, reach out to your classmates who are, look up events hosted by the ICB club, or join COMMrads. Sometimes it’s worth it to go out of your way to make new friends.

—Madi Bates

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