Students, staff and faculty recently dined together at Ladd, Quinby and MacMillan houses for the 10th annual Dinner with Six Strangers.
“The idea is for people who might not know one another to come together over a meal,” said Mary Pat McMahon, director of the college’s Residential Life office. The Donald and Barbara Kurtz Fund sponsored the event.
This year, Residential Life partnered with the office of Off-Campus Study to come up a theme for the dinner: Global Connections. “Sometimes it is hard to integrate international experiences [once you are] back home, and often they may continue to exist in a vacuum,” said Christine Wintersteen, director of the office of International and Off-Campus Study. Dining with Six Strangers allowed students and faculty to reflect and share their international experiences. “Classic” tables were also set up for regular participants.
Another intention of the Global Connections theme was to encourage Bowdoin student interest in studying away. “Bowdoin has lots of ways to get people abroad,” pointed out Melissa Quinby, director of the Women’s Resource Center. The opportunities almost feel endless. Bowdoin, for instance, is one of only 40 institutions in the United States that offer the Watson Fellowship, a $25,000 grant with one rule — you can’t come home for a year.
After the dinner, Hunter White ’17 said he was pleased with the experience. “It was great getting to know other Bowdoin students who are interested in international cultures,” he said. In particular, he said a Bowdoin security guard had had “many great stories to tell” about his time in the Middle East.
Religion major Sam King ’14, who attended the dinner and also studied abroad, made an observation that could be applied to Dinner with Six Strangers and its ability to bring a diverse set of strangers together. “The world is becoming more and more interconnected,” he noted.