Elm Staff Writer
Just prior to the Dining Hall’s annual Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 15, the Global Education Office, the Student Events Board, and the Student Government Association co-sponsored a feast of their own in the Goose Nest in honor of International Education Week.
The World Culture Festival on Nov. 14 was an opportunity for students to experience new foods from different cultures around the world, according to Director of Student Affairs Elaine Grant.
“It is really a GEO-sponsored event with a collaboration by SEB with the Wheel of Fortune [activity],” Grant said.
Sarah Lyle, assistant director at the Global Education Office, further described the event as a time for students and the community to engage with cultures they may not have a chance to experience first-hand.
“World Culture Night is an event celebrated as part of International Education Week, [where] attendees will get to taste new foods from many countries, learn about cultures and traditions of the world, and gain experience of the international character of Washington College,” she said.
Countries represented at the festival included France, Germany, Great Britain, China, India, Japan, Pakistan, and Russia.
“Our traditional ‘world culture night’, where our students have traditionally prepared foods from their cultural homes, [was] expanded in conjunction with Student Engagement and the SEB into a ‘World Culture Festival’ and moved to a weeknight to attract a larger crowd,” Lyle said.
Some of the foods featured at the festival included shrimp and pork dumplings, Korean carrots, chana masala (chickpeas), Naan bread, and hot pretzels. Options included vegetarian dishes and desserts as well.
The SEB facilitated events featuring Henna and other art-related activities students could participate in while trying new foods. Students were also eligible to win prizes by playing Wheel of Fortune, like a Polaroid camera or a cozy blanket.
The festival highlighted the celebration of Diwali, or ‘the Festival of Lights,’ a five-day festival that signifies new beginnings in conjunction with the Hindu New Year. To represent this tradition, the event featured Indian food, mehndi henna tattoos, and sparklers.
Freshman SEB member Melissa DeFrancesco reflected on her first world culture night experience.
“The collaboration with the SGA and the GEO made for a great variety in our turnout, and it was nice to see the Nest full of students all eating, laughing, and connecting,” she said.
Senior Rachel Agyare, a GEO student worker and event leader for International Education Week, shared her expectations for the event.
“Students can hopefully experience the perspectives of other countries and see if they have an interest in learning more about different countries and cultures that are not their own,” she said.
Other events in conjunction with International Education Week included observing language classes, flag chalk drawing, eating caramel apples, arts and crafts, and the performance of “La Nona,” a Spanish play, over the weekend.
“The Modern Language department is welcoming visitors to many of its language classes to get an immersive experience in a foreign culture while safely in Kent County,” Lyle said.
According to Lyle, the purpose of these events is to allow students to get a sense for new languages for possible future study, and to familiarize them with the Foster House and GEO staff.
“Personally, I enjoyed the Indian food, and the highlight of my night was working the Wheel of Fortune game. I already can’t wait for next year’s World Culture Night,” DeFrancesco said.