Focus on the Upstate 76 - Upstate International - 10-15-2017

Focus on the Upstate
Sunday, October 15th

Executive Director Trasie Frese and Chairman of the Board Anita Tam discuss Upstate International's focus on serving people who have moved to the Upstate from other countries and making locals aware of the international influence in the Upstate. As always, donation and volunteer opportunites abound.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Welcome to focus on the upstate a program dedicated to informing you about organizations that serve our community. How you can get involved with him. Here's your host Chris Evans. Good morning and welcome to focus on the upstate my name is Chris Evans today I am joined by Tracy free is the executive director and I needed him the chairman of the board of upstate international good morning ladies Harry dealing and good morning good morning. Thank you for being here. I I'm I'm interested in upstate international usually the first question that I ask on the program is what do you do. And who you do it for sue Tracy tell us tell us what upstate international doesn't he do for. Well upstate international began almost twenty years ago as the international center for our reach on. And basically we are a broad based international activities organization. That works to help people come from other countries who live here to thrive in the upstate. And on the flip side we were to engage south Carolinians in other cultures and in. Doing business overseas and all of those issues that surround being out kind of a global economy appear. And I believe I'm correct in saying that this is the first time I've ever had eight chairman of the board of even now in the studio usually it's executive directors like Tracie Lynn thank you need is for being here. And I am interested in me in sort of the different perspective of of of a board member. In in terms of of what you guys did. Plus an organization I see your national really thrives on volunteers. We a lot of volunteers. Including our board of directors and as support we've gone through so many different transitions are in a twenty years at organization has been in existence and so now our board of directors is very active and we're trying to become even more active. And so I'm glad to be here representing this wonderful organization. Glad to hear it and one of the things that we talk about on this program is volunteer opportunities had a lot of volunteers from use for a trusted international. Give the city a kind of a quick rundown either review of the volunteer opportunities through upstate international. Well first off from the perspective of the board of directors are always looking for our committee members of aren't our group's teens anyone who wants to be involved in helping to shape our organization. We heard of flexible we. Really seek sit and meet the needs of our community here in the other states and if it's always changing where in this very interconnected world. It's very dynamic and so we as an organization want to change along with the needs of the community. So any member thickening is invited to join. It's you know take part in our committees as well so be considered for our board of directors and helping shape the future of the organization. What are the qualifications that you look for in volunteers. Well we have a lot of play she can volunteer even going beyond our our board of director roles. A stay international hosts or co host our partners and about 200 activities here so while it's a large scale mission and with a very very small staff we have three part time staffers. And we use interns and the volunteers that are core so volunteers can come we can use help and the office. Always constant feature and yes. We need volunteers for committees who may work on events or fundraising or community outreach. Currently we use a volunteer to keep our website update at a bank that's. You know a theory note important position these days and on our social media is done my fantastic volunteer who's been with us for years. So there's a lot of capacities that someone has an interest we most certainly can put him to work. Gotcha and beat you mentioned the website I was looking in the Webb said earlier really a very nice website this and it looks like a good resource. For a lot of people to it to get a lot of information about upstate and our national. It is an arm mission because a lot of it is centered around community collaborations and partnerships. And one thing we do with our website that so little unique as our calendar. Has. Activities from any internationally related organization and we help promote their events creativity so. Rather than reinventing the well all the time not only do we have our own programs but we really wanna support other people who are doing programming well. So that's one thing and then also we have an international resource section on our web site it has a list of cultural contacts those are people who say cake. You know someone needs to know more about comment they can call me. So we have the list of people that you can reach out an email all or call and ask questions about the near the world we also have a list of the international organizations I spoke bound break and we have a list of things like consulates. So there's. That section we're always looking to update it because people are always some flux. But that's kind of unique to our website to be that hub of information on we did we find a lot of times people just need to know. Starting point to contact so had someone call for a bakery a polish bakery out of bacon they're like different polish bakery here well. We may not have the answer but gonna help you find the. I catch it. You mentioned gone out what are indeed yes I do which I imagine it was just. Off the dock your campaign didn't touch some other outlets but it's fine but it may be wonder. Which countries do you do you find people asking about the most. Well that. Varies daily but I Taylor we of course we have a lot of European influences right now on our economy and then our upstate we have a lot of Asians also and community members and activities. Of course that that just to pan American Association or death. And Korea's center which was found it through one of our upstate international members. Latin America yeah Latin America she's Canada even you know we sometimes forget about Canada and their right up north from us and Romney. Very important in our export the police and we have a south African chamber of commerce OK here which most people probably are aware that just started about three years ago. So it just it just depends on the day brilliant we have people from about seventy countries who have come through our organization on. So. Capsaicin theory diversified. Well I was gonna save we were talking about global diversity before the program and that really isn't a good example of that kind of diversity. And I should mention the website for people who are interested in visiting in upstate international dot org is is how you get there of course volunteer opportunities. On the website if people our interest in getting involved or or I guess in in her thinking of your services the services you offer. Which it just give us a general idea can picture for the audience of of what kind of help they could receive from upstate international. I'm one of our. Longstanding programs aren't the language is like language classes. The language classes are taught by native. Speakers up that language and what makes our language preference unique is. That instructors. Really help their students understand or the culture teams so it's a fun. At least yours so learn. Conversations. And and culture and everything that goes into that interaction. And and say even those teachers are volunteers. And say they got another opportunity for someone to get involved in helping others learned it's a very empowering. Volunteer role I believe. And that was one of the things I noticed on the website is the these in fact I think that was one of the first things I noticed on the web Saturdays language classes. That you offer is there charge for this you can do what what does it take the news okay. There is basically. Let's stay international is a membership based organist and sank. But about 95% of our programming is open to the public say use the membership base comes and in order to dealing which classes or be part of one of the international clubs like international women's group for international men's group. Basically they're like a registration fee. Oh deficit and then after you pay that initial. Membership fee are classes are different and that he can take a class for about seven home X. Well which compared to the going rate of thirty to forty Klaus. Makes darling which classes affordable and we also trying to make them accessible so we have classes on the day classes on the evening. And classes at different levels so it's. Our approach is a little unique because there were a little unique and we find it works people keep coming back. Another thing that's interesting about our our programming as we do conversation clubs and our our major languages of English as a second language and Spanish. And then we also have classes that are conversation based in specific languages like French. But as we found that people come after going to school to going to college classes or high school classes and they still can't speak. The language they've learned a lot about breeding end or writing and so we have classes that focus on this conversation skills that many people want for either business or for travel. You know it it it's it's interesting that you mention that I I studied languages myself it in the past and at and have noticed that. So frequently languages are taught the way that you would teach children to speak you know starting out like. Body parts in food and you know things like that and and your right there is a focus on reading and writing spelling things correctly and being able to read the language and certainly that's important. But speaking it is just is important if you ever plan to use the language. And and and it's it's one thing to learn to save. The mouse is under the table. So yeah I thought something like that. But in in actually holding a conversation with the with even with a native language speakers that's that's really different prospect. And sometimes that daunting one. Absolutely and and so that's I'm glad that you offer that kind of a focusing in your education and that's that. People might not receive some somewhere else. Didn't end and I think what's really important to mention is. The business aspects you learning this language is right now we're getting a lot more requests from businesses you have cohorts of employees Hugh. Our in the business wouldn't relations with a certain areas perhaps China or Japan or Germany or France V and take even half a crash course and in the language is really useful and not see become fluent by any means threats at least some dumb and be able to demonstrate some level of respect to an interest in that culture of their clients. You know and that's one thing that I found in in setting other languages is that pleasantries go along way. You know how to say please and thank you and just the simple things like that how Logan by unit to little things like that. Native speakers will give you a lot more leeway and if you don't know anything and I salute. And I think it's interesting that you bring up the business aspect because we do even Tracy even need a mentioned. The the business can be international business community we have it here in South Carolina specifically here in the upstate. The two big ones that come to mind of course Michelin and BMW. And so. Having those companies around. They're going to be international. Business people. That you need to be conversant Clinton. And so give me give me an idea of one of state international does in terms of relating to companies here and and facilitating international business. That's a very interesting thing you brought up so about two a year and a half ago we became a part of world affairs councils of America. And we specifically wanted to be a part of that group because they focus on on foreign policy awareness critical global issues current events. And a lot of the subject matter that relates to people and come in the business frowned. One of our first. Things we did is we pride in the Canadian consul general to come in and visit the upstate and to not only T speaking engagements but we took her to see the South Carolina and important to meet with business leaders and and then last spring we held AD global fluent C training session and workshop. And then a panel discussion that we partnered with Tenet the top fund about global influencing global fluency released cross cultural communication. You were saying pleasantries Shiller along ice well they deal and also knowing the culture that you're doing business plan. Can make the difference in whether you have ongoing relationship and and make the Diller not so. We partnered with a group out of Columbus for global fluency institute at this part of the world appears council system and brought them down because they've done training with. Many large corporations. We wanted to bring experts them let's kick off a discussion here and it really high caliber mean way. We're going to do that again next year partnering again with them once again to do this cross cultural training. Specifically as relates to business but can relate to. Any aspect whether it's travel or personal relationships. And focus on developing the skills that can make the difference and our relations and other people. We talked a little bit about the that individual. Services that did you offer and and also you just mentioned a business international business involvement that you have you guys do any lobbying to exit government types and and have any influence in that. Or we aren't we are completely nonpolitical the latter fact world affairs councils of America is the largest nongovernmental organization and commit lately. Not on our political nonpartisan. We've really focus on helping. At a grassroots level to get people to engage for themselves so one of the goals is it we recently brought experts and on Kariya. Who brought them to upstate we brought a member of decree in south Korean embassy right decree an economic institute who has an expert on North Korea. And a member of US Department of State. We bring them here and then we try to make them accessible so we took them to Clemson for students and to Furman and then we haven't even here in our community that was open to the public. People can come and hear them speak and they can ask her own questions. So the goal is and they very nonpolitical manner. To have the availability of addressing these topics. You for yourself and engaging. Well and think Korea is a South Korea specifically is is really kind of a burgeoning culture intern is business and and and and in culture and and it's easy to think when you when somebody says Korea as easy to think of North Korea and it. Did not getting too far into the season high but fragment. But do that there's a stark difference between North Korean South Korea and and yeah I think it's missed a lot of times in in not in the focus on the north yeah. And that's what was so great about this panel as they actually addressed. All of that they address the nuclear threats and growing concerns about the hot topic that's in the news not just our daily now. But they also adjust economic development and that impacts on. US and South Korea trade and relations. Samsung and nose into valujet and and and that's how our industry and the car industry absolutely there's a lot of of business that comes out of South Korea. Two the United States and specifically to here in the upstate in South Carolina. Tracy you mentioned it is the international women's group and international men's groups kind of passing but I wanted to touch on those a little bit more deeply tell us what goes on. Well and they're very theory important pets stay international they're one of the backgrounds of a why we were start and originally when people were living in here rather new for industry. There was not a lot of support to help trolling spouses help families engaged. Relocation help. These days for a lot more of those companies across the upstate that helped with families knitting and as far as the how you get your driver's license trying to find a home. But still that component seems to be messing of meeting other international people and developed pain that community. Friends. So the international women's group is women from all around the world and also women from here. Special especially ones that lived abroad in the kind of miss that cultural interaction. They get together for regular meetings once a month at our office but every week they have ongoing activities so they have fitness hikes they have copy they have ladies night out they have craft groups. They have diverse areas then trust. But these lemon connect and they formed lifelong friendships. And they also give back to our community so there's always another organization needs though women's group that they're focused on helping support through on some of their. Efforts. It's another amazing. Group of Smart active engaged women he'll want to participate in the up state. And we just started an international men's group running literally needed just four and we had. A group of our member saying you know cash these women they that they are loving. These relationships. Can the tiny T develop these areas of interest so hump. Need to the upstate meetings Saturday mornings twice a month and is the international Minsk group. Okay and guess again people can find out more information about joining those groups getting involved of those groups. On the on our website give us a call a state international dot oracle didn't if you also mentioned it end. There's so many different events on your on your calendars because you partner with so many different organizations. That you had to put things on but it another one that says that thought was very interesting is a lecture series that you've got coming up to us about that. So American the world it's a lecture series are partnering with Furman University on. A lot people don't realize that we have experts on various regions of the world right here in the upstate. We have professors and other business people who have. Published books and articles found about specific regions. So we started American the world to Delmon TU Hal the US relates to other countries. We kicked it off with challenges for American foreign policy with doctor Connolly chief. Our next part of the series will be October 18 with a doctor Brent Nelson who has an expert on your up. The European Nina in Denver excellent okay and that's what we'll be speaking about. So again it's an opportunity chief come downtown were holding this lecture series first thing in the morning. 830 can come help coffee and a mop them. And election starts at nine and then when the lectures done you know you have plenty of time to head on into work and do where again is that it's going to be at that Ogletree deacons meeting Rand Ogletree is down on 300 north main street in the green foam. It's a great opportunity again come not only hear the speaker but when he stunned ask her own questions. Open to the public traditional public. It is free for members five dollars for non member a highly affordable care and part of that money goes back to Furman for their international student but fund. And this is an ongoing series so people are hearing this after October 18 than they've missed that particular one but it's. It's going on for how long. For eight months so we just let Marty go ride to ride and that the goal is again this to have something every month right now to get the public used to this idea that they can. Learn more about the world for themselves. End all of this you've got to have a way to fund all of this how is upstate international funded. And the through our membership secretary corporate memberships grants for specific programs and of course. Were fundraising okay absolutely what oh kind of fund raisers do you view I think you mentioned something about salt sits on that is that one of the dad milk salt. Let's sunset this one of those amazing programs that started three years ago and just kind of tough cause a life of that sound okay salsa at sunset as a three part summer series celebrating. Latin music and dance would live dancing. Gelman. Akram plaza which is in front of the peace center on main street. For that program we actually support the entire thing through grants and and sponsorships this event sponsorships and ordered to keep that completely free to the public. So. In July we had about 600 people dancing on the plaza our biggest one ever. Highly energetic. You will see people from five to 85 could they dancing or watching the dancing. Chatting we get responses all the time for people who say constant is the best crowd just the nicest people. Really out there and just celebrating being together as a community. Enjoying the evening in great downtown green foam. It's a great program I think symbolizes a lot of what we stand for it let's see here international. That we. Connects people who do through some means and in this case it's about dance and live music and see him he think about what connects people oftentimes it's food. You're a music guy and I dance and sport. And that and that is there's I think it's also its onset it's just one of those avenues that has been very successful in bringing the community together or not just one community but. The PM one segment of the main event. All the different segments even passers by. Walking right in downtown and and from Greenville to stop and get to know who we are and what we stamps or. And they usually happens in the summertime it does thanks generally. Once a month in June July and August of this year we changed it up a little bit and held one in September clump son. In order to kickoff Hispanic heritage month. So we had live Latin music and dancing at that campus theater which was fantastic and partnered with Clemson University on the. And and one thing they don't want to touch on before we end here we've only got a couple minutes left. One thing that's on the website is this welcome to the upstate painted bird for people that are new to the upstate and Scott all kinds of resources. For a for people that have moved in years specially from other countries you know that you mentioned before they may not. Know how to go to find a particular servicer aura. Big tree that they like or something like that route looking through so this isn't like good information even if you're not. Atlanta hat and so that is another thing that's available on the website of course donation you always access. And. And we're actively seeking corporate memberships right now mark corporate base is very important because they have a lot of companies here. New either want to reach new members or maybe have a global foot prance. Or want to look at how they can really help support this growing global diversity in the up staying right. So we'd like to say you know what come by and have a cup of coffee when the sun and get to know us a little bit let us learn more about your organization. We'll just a wealth of opportunities provided by upstate international. Four volunteers. Four blood donors either individual or corporate donors and then just a community events that she does have going on all of that are available on your website again. Upstate international dot org people wanna get involved in any particular way. They can find more information there. Tracy freeze executive director and a needed him chairman of the board have been my guest today from upstate international thank you very much ladies for being here. Thank you so much for us we appreciate that it's been my pleasure. I'm Chris Evans and this has been focused on the upstate. You've been listening to focus on the yet state with Chris Evans if you would like more information on today's topic email Chris. At C Evans