Students get a taste of world cuisine, culture at IWU fair
BY BRYCE KELLY
Mt. Pleasant News
It might not have been an actual trip around the world, but it was certainly a culinary and cultural peek into the vast diversity of students at Iowa Wesleyan University (IWU).
As part of IWU’s push to further diversity and international student participation within the campus, IWU once again hosted its annual International Education Fair at the IWU Social Hall on Thursday. The celebration was held in conjunction with International Education week, and marked IWU’s second consecutive fair.
During the event, student representatives from 12 different countries and six different continents prepared and shared various cuisine from their respective countries, while also sharing information about their homeland’s culture, music and traditional dress.
“With an event like this, I think if it would prompt students to want to learn more about other cultures, or if it would get students to want to travel and see other cultures first-hand, that would be wonderful,” said IWU religion professor, Joy Lapp.
Lapp was present at Thursday’s event to provide students with information regarding IWU’s upcoming trip to Israel and Palestine. Lapp herself has traveled to both Israel and Palestine many times during her professional career, and hopes that IWU’s upcoming trip will benefit students both culturally and educationally.
“Overall, I think today’s event at the very least shows students that the world is much bigger than just Mt. Pleasant and will maybe plant some seeds of curiosity in students,” Lapp added.
For sophomore transfer student, Jake O’Farrell, he knows first-hand just how expansive the world is. Currently a soccer student at IWU, O’Farrell was present during Thursday’s event to introduce students to some signature cuisine from his home country of Australia.
“I think this is great,” said the Sydney native of Thursday’s event. “I think giving international students the chance to share more about where we come from is a good idea. It really builds relationships on campus.”
Kusum Lama, of Nepal, echoed O’Farrell’s sentiments, saying she hopes that the university continues to host events like the international fair. Lama attended the event in order to share various dishes from home, saying she stayed up late and got up early to make sure her cuisine was on-point.
“I hope everyone likes them,” Lama said of her dishes, which are commonly eaten in her home city of Kathmandu. “I am having fun so far. It feels good to talk about home, and everyone here is so nice and wants to know more about where I come from. That makes me feel good.”
While not a student or a faculty member of IWU, local diversity advocate, Sal Alaniz also dropped by the fair to get a taste of the various dishes on site, but also to send a welcome to international students from the local community.
“IWU is really embracing its richness in culture, which is wonderful,” said Alaniz. “I think giving students a taste of the world’s expanse of culture is a great learning opportunity, and something that students can use to make relationships that will better effect them and the world around them. It’s a really great thing to see.”