Letter to the Editor: Cafe benefits international students

I came to know about One Green World Café through Jason Steinberg, who is the managing director of the café.

When he asked me if I would be interested to work as a barista, I was not sure what my answer should be. I mean, I had never worked in a café before and I had a mixed feeling about it.

But I made up my mind to try something different for a change, and my work at the café has been nothing but exciting, rewarding and adventurous.

Let me give you a brief background of where I come from –  Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has a multifaceted culture and tradition dating back more than 3,000 years. As it is a customary thing in Ethiopia, I was living with my parents – though I’m well over 18 – since girls normally stay with their parents until they get married.

Starting a new life on my own, adjusting to cultural differences, and making new friends on this side of the world was in no way an easy task. To add to it, I was not able to find a fellow student, which made my first few days stay in Erie a lonesome experience.

But everything changed when I started working at One Green World Café.

Working at the café, I’ve come to meet with very friendly, good-natured and exciting people from different parts of the world. The café has an outstanding multicultural composition with about 50 percent of the employees being international students and the remaining being Americans; it creates a melting pot of characters and cultures.

Learning has to do with dialog and interpersonal skills and for me, the most important things I learn comes not only from the classrooms and textbooks, but also from the cross-cultural experience itself. And the café is the best platform to give me just that.

At One Green World Café, an international student works with an American student on all shifts. As a result, I have been able to learn more about the American culture and values and also have had the opportunity to tell people about Ethiopian culture.

People of different color, background, and perspective walk into the café every day, and this gives me a chance to learn about diversified viewpoints and opinions on religion, culture, politics, and sexuality.

The café had its Grand Opening on September the 15th. This event marked the day our baby – our young café – got a wing to soar to great heights.

But this young baby needs its employees’ continued dedication and persistence, and most importantly the gracious and constant visit of its customers, in order to succeed and come into its own.

TIGIST YIRKO

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