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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Iranian Student Association brings second home to Iranian students in Wichita

Monique Bever
Iranian Student Association officers huddle together for a photo at their Nowruz event. The celebration of Nowruz, or Persian New Year, was held at the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex on March 16.

Laughter, soulful Persian music, animated conversations in Farsi and the aroma of traditional cuisine filled the room as Wichita’s close-knit Iranian community gathered at the Iranian Student Association’s event celebrating Nowruz at the beginning of March.

Traveling around 7,000 miles from Tehran, Iran, to further his studies at Wichita State University, Iranian Student Association President Mohammad Amin Ahouei understands what it’s like navigating life as an international student and aims to help others integrate into Wichita through the group.

A decorative egg is displayed at the Iranian Student Association’s Nowruz event on March 16. Eggs are significant to Nowruz celebrations as they symbolize hope, fertility, and growth. (Monique Bever)

“It’s a good feeling when we can organize a large number of Iranian students and families, communicate with them, and provide a situation that they can have fun,” Ahouei said. 

The Iranian Student Association acts as a support net, prioritizing international students in their first six months of moving from Iran. At the club’s events, members of the local Iranian community often help fundraise financial support for these students that the university hasn’t provided, ranging from groceries to shelter.

“Our main responsibility is to create a kind of association for the students who recently came here,” Ahouei said. “Here in Wichita, we try to make it easy for them to get home and settle down.” 

According to Treasurer Atena Tajaddodi, the association is preparing a handbook to guide incoming students. 

The Iranian Student Association holds various events throughout the year, from traditional celebrations, like Nowruz and Yalda Night, to casual activities like volleyball games and movie nights.

A Haft-Sin table of Nowruz motifs is displayed at the Persian New Year event held by the Iranian Student Association. (Monique Bever)

Sina Aghaei, the Iranian Student Association adviser, said celebrating traditional festivities with a newfound community is intended to help ease homesickness while replicating facets of Iranian culture.

“It helps them to get back to their tradition,” Aghaei said. “They don’t get homesick as much as they used to. They can find some memories that they can share together.”

Public Relations Officer Arian Gerami said the group’s shared knowledge of Iranian customs helps him feel more at ease with other members.

“They’re all speaking your language, and it makes it feel like parts of my country,” Gerami said. “Being in a group that knows all about (your) traditions, you don’t have to explain why you’re doing this or that, whether it’s logical or not. You just get to go somewhere and enjoy the moment.”

For more information on the Iranian Student Association, updates are frequently shared on their Instagram page: @iransa_wichita. Contact information for the group can be found here

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About the Contributor
Monique Bever
Monique Bever, Reporter
Monique Bever is a first-year reporter and photographer. She is a freshman majoring in philosophy. Monique has lived in Wichita for most of her life. She loves film, fashion, and her cat.

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