Cultures unite in education

By Daynie Rivera

The sounds of Japanese Taiko drums, children’s laughter and songs from exchange students’ home countries filled University Park with excitement during International Education Week (IEW).

International Education Week brought another level of cultural exposure to campus last week and gave students an inside look into the International Center and its resources.

These programs can be some of the most memorable parts of a college student’s experience and International Education Week was intended to share more information with the campus to give a glimpse into the study abroad experience.

Brianna Garcia, a second-year kinesiology student, took full advantage of International Education Week as she prepares to study abroad in Latin America.

“I want to study medical Spanish in Peru because I think it’s important to immerse yourself directly into the culture to really learn the language,” Garcia said.

“I think International Education Week is great because you get to ask questions in person about the study abroad programs rather than just seeing them online.”

The week-long event was hosted by the College of Extended University and the International Center providing a variety of activities including food, performances and workshops.

IEW was done in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education to promote cultural awareness and diversity.

“I encourage students to give themselves the opportunity to take a break from their books, and take a visual and mental vacation to experience another part of the world,” Director of Business Operations from the College of the Extended University, Teresa Taylor said.

IEW began last Monday with the International Food fair hosted by the Los Olivos Commons, more commonly known by students as “L.O.”

L.O. updated its typical offerings like the sandwich bar and pasta station to give students an opportunity to explore various cuisines from around the world.

Not only was this done in celebration of IEW, but it was also a chance to encourage students to embrace the diversity of their peers across campus and their cultural backgrounds.

Students were able to try foods such as chicken ditalini, Indian potato, teriyaki chicken, Kung Pao tofu stir-fry and candied jerk spice roasted butternut squash.

“This event is all about the opportunity to see what’s out there in the world,” Marketing and Branding Developer of the College of the Extended University, Sam Carpenter said.

The week also brought together numerous cultures from around the globe during the opening ceremony Tuesday.

Students from the ASI Children’s Center paraded across University Park South, while singing ‘It’s a Small World After All’ and waving flags from different parts of the world.

The Cultural Parade of Nations included performances by students from the Touzan Taiko Drum Group.

There was a Chinese song ‘Days in Beijing East Road’ performed by the Aviation Hospitality program students, a Latin dance by the Cesar Chavez center and a Japanese song ‘Sukiyaki’ performed by the Cal Poly English Language Institute Japanese students (CPELI).

“It’s great to see all my students from around the world collaborating with each other, Lead Teacher of the Cal Poly English Language Institute, Cerise Santoro said.

Wednesday was CPP Sports Day at the BRIC giving students a chance to compete in basketball or corn hole games and having the opportunity to win a $25 Bronco Bucks gift card.

Students interested in experiencing new places and cultures had the opportunity to visit the Study Abroad Fair, where representatives were available to answer questions about programs offered.

The International Food Festival, hosted by on-campus clubs, sold foods from around the world like Middle Eastern baklava from the Muslim Student Association and samosas from India sold by the Indian Student Association.

The event concluded Thursday with the Foreign Language Cafe, a language-learning workshop that was taught in several languages such as Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Chines, Arabic and Spanish.

“I’m teaching basic words in Arabic, but I think learning different languages is a very useful tool for all students,” CPELI student Shahad Sakem said.

Overall the event was a success as more students become aware of the benefits studying abroad can provide for their academic career.

The International Education Week is hosted annually in the second week of November.

If you are interested in learning more about the Study Abroad programs available, visit the International Center in Building 1, Room 104, and the College of the Extended University in Building 220C, Room 140.

Japanese Taiko drummers performed during the opening ceremony in University Park

Taylor Story / The Poly Post

Japanese Taiko drummers performed during the opening ceremony in University Park

Groups went on stage to perform international songs

Taylor Story / The Poly Post

Groups went on stage to perform international songs

Groups went on stage to perform international songs

Taylor Story / The Poly Post

Groups went on stage to perform international songs

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