Kaitlyn Rule ’19  |   Published May 08, 2016

A welcoming community

International students embrace ‘Greek’ culture at Monmouth College
  • International students embrace ‘Greek’ culture at Monmouth College. From left to right: Jad Freyha ’16 of Syria (Sigma Phi Epsilon), Nadine Waran ’17 of Rawang, Malaysia (Pi Beta Phi), and Sujith Santhosh ’17 of Madakkathara, India (Phi Delta Theta).
Before he came to Monmouth College, all Sujith Santhosh ’17 of Madakkathara, India, knew about Greek campus life was what he had seen in U.S. movies.

But that changed after he joined Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

“Honestly, my mental picture of a fraternity was as depicted in the movies,” Santhosh said. “But once I was physically here, it was easy to shatter the preconceptions and see things for what they are.”

The same was true for Nadine Waran ’17 of Rawang, Malaysia, who thought that sorority life was like what she had seen in the movies. Her attitude toward Greek life changed after her close friend Carley Folluo ’17 of Davenport, Iowa, persuaded her to rush Pi Beta Phi, the first chapter of the nation’s first fraternity for women.

“Here was this exuberant girl who’d become so excited over the thought of Pi Beta Phi,” Waran said. “One day, she came up to me and asked me if I’d like to go to a continuous open bidding event. At first, I didn’t know how to feel about being in a room filled with absolute strangers.

“I can now say that saying ‘Yes’ to Carley is one of the best decisions I’ve made since coming to America. The minute I was placed in this room filled with these lively, intelligent and beautifully-spirited women, I knew that I wanted to be a part of their community.”

Santhosh said he joined Phi Delta Theta to develop as a leader and to network with the chapter’s alumni. Being a member of Phi Delta Theta has also taught him more about American culture.

“One of the members of my fraternity family tree is working in the same field as I am and has offered me guidance in my career and what my next steps should be,” he said. “It’s a wonderful thing to have a family away from home. After all, home is where the heart is.”

Jad Freyha ’16 of Syria joined Sigma Phi Epsilon for the social interaction during college and the professional advantage afterward. The fraternity helped him find his fit at Monmouth, and Freyha said he gains new perspectives about the world while being part of student life.

Associate director of student involvement Billy Bernard said there are numerous reasons why international students become involved in Greek life.

“Greek letter organizations are values-based, meaning they were founded for specific reasons at one point in American history, and even to this day their members continue to keep the values of the organization at the forefront of their experience,” he said. “The organizations believe in the development of their members so they offer mentoring relationships with other members where they can study, learn about each other and work together.”

Waran, who grew up with four brothers, said that she can always count on her Pi Phi sisters, especially her “Grand Big,” who “will still find time to drive back to the college to talk to me.”

“That is a great example of what love is and what I love about my sisterhood,” she said.

To learn more about Monmouth College’s Fraternity and Sorority Life, go to: www.monmouthcollege.edu/fsl
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