Union College has been working diligently to expand its community of International Students. It is one of many reasons I joined Union. Union believes international students are a unique addition to the community. They enrich the classes and the campus with their diverse backgrounds and beliefs. They also provide a personal and more viable account of their countries’ culture, tradition, history and how people live. These things fascinate the American students and help them learn about a country they never heard of or do not know much about. It is a two way street. International Students, on the other hand, have an amazing opportunity to learn about the United States and American culture.
The cultural exchange takes place everywhere, in classroom discussions, in dorms, in the dinning halls, in the Gym, on the bus to the mall etc… But last week there was a special program, World Around U or the International Students Festival as it is known among students. It was a fun event. Tables were set up in front of Schaffer Library.
Every country represented on campus was given a table to put on display their countries’ flags as well as anything unique about their culture. The Office for International Students had also allocated a budget for food. Most of the students used the budget to cook one or two cuisines that are traditionally popular in their countries. I enjoyed some Indian food as I took pictures and got to know other students and learn about their countries.
There are students from India, Chile, Pakistan, Vietnam, China, Afghanistan, Poland, Uganda, Japan, Tanzania, Russia, South Africa, Czech Republic, South Korea, Columbia, England and France just to name a few. 6% of current students are International Students. It is an incredible number for a small liberal arts college like Union. The efforts, however, continue to bring more international students, with the Class of 2018 set to join Union the International Students’ community will be even more rich and diverse.
The event concluded with some great African music and drums performed by the Union’s African Students Association.