For an easy transition from life in Iran to life at UT, contact the Iranian Student Association.
The association (ISA) helps students find apartments, their place on campus, the right banking to use and provide answers to questions students may have through the transition between environments. Members also help provide information to the community regarding Persian culture.
“Our mission is to bring together students with Iranian background or interest and introduce Persian cultures to international communities and all students here at UT,” Mojdeh Azaddisfan, graduate student studying civil engineering and president of the association, said.
Started in 2008, the association has helped students connect with their culture while being far from its source.
“Coming from another country to make effort to study here (with) all your family and friend being far away, the pressure of being a graduate students can be difficult to handle,” Ava Hedayatipour, graduate student in electrical engineering and vice president, said. “A support system of people with a similar situation can mean a lot.”
ISA has hosted movie nights, outdoor activities, music events and Persian traditions to help Iranian student interact with campus and each other.
“Being new to the US, and starting to live far from old friends and relatives, this association is a cultural, non-religious and non-political place to help members support each other emotionally and practically,” Azaddisfany said.
The International House hosts coffee houses for different cultural organizations and ISA has collaborated to host a few coffee houses where they provided Iranian snacks as well as tea or coffee. Showcases have also been held at The International House to display culture and traditions to members and students curious about Iran.
Iranian events are often not celebrated in America so ISA works to help members celebrate these cultural occasions. An example is Nowruz, a celebration of the first moment of spring where friends and families celebrate the beginning of a new life of nature and a new year.
“A week before Nowruz we celebrate Chaharshanbe Suri, on the eve of the Wednesday of the year (before Nowruz) when we celebrate light and health by having a bonfire and gathering,” Hedayatipour said.
On the longest and darkest night of each year, members also celebrate the winter solstice in an occasion called Yalda.
ISA is funded by members but does receive assistance from the International House for events.
Anyone with an interest or background in Iranian culture and traditions is welcome to join the association by requesting on their VolLink page. ISA also utilized Facebook for announcements and organization information.