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Students Come Together Through World Cultural Cuisines

The World Fair of the Northeastern State University (NSU), Oklahoma, USA, brought together students of all nationalities through cultural foods. The coordinator of NSU and international student advisor, Ricardo Oropeza, stated that the event was being utilized to highlight different foods and cultures from 12 countries, including Spain, China, Mexico, and Kazakhstan. The event was open to the faculty, students, and staff to serve their choice of a culturally remarkable meal or dessert from their country of origin. Ricardo further mentions how this event was for the people to learn more about international students, their vibrant cultures, people, and language while sharing some food together. Jamie Wright, International Student Specialist, expressed that the event helped bring awareness about the fact that NSU incorporates international students.

Ricardo also highlights his belief that the event allows NSU students to bring and perceive other perspectives in the world, breaking stereotypes and empowering people to acquire more knowledge of a specific country. He hopes that the event will raise awareness about international students, as they form a smaller section compared to the domestic student community.

The Northeastern Activity Board Public Relations Chairman, Jason Anderson, stated that the event has educated people about the number of international students present at the university, which excites people around the world about the potential of studying abroad.

The World Fair’s atmosphere also allows the international student community to realize the feeling of being heard when it comes to their cuisines. An international student from Kazakhstan, Alisha Moldakhmetova, served a common Kazakhstan chocolate dessert called pirozhnoe kartoshka. She expressed her feelings about being happy to serve the cuisine of her country, which helps her to connect and share her culture with others in an international forum. She said that it was a good experience as many people were not aware of her country and it was more like a part of her being shared with other people.

Harley Louviere, an event attendee and NSU freshman, said she was able to try several cuisines at the event, including curry. She also expressed her view on how this event allows space for international students to share their culture and how food plays a significant role in creating a diverse space. Two student cultural groups, namely, the Native American Student Association and We Are Hmong, were also present at the event. A retention specialist for the NSU Center for Tribal Studies, Randilyn Rose attended the event and believes that the event causes others to have greater respect for others’ backgrounds and opens up avenues for people to try on new things and explore various cultures.