International students share native culture at Global Grounds Café

International students share native culture at Global Grounds Café

International students share native culture at Global Grounds Café
October 15
02:45 2015

Anjulie Van Sickle and Sydney Wilburn  | Staff Writer and Contributing Writer

@anjuliegrace

On Friday afternoon, accounting junior and Vietnam native Thao Nguyen stands in a busy hallway in Marquis Hall with a bright, welcoming smile.

“Would you like to come to our presentation about Grenada?” she asks passing students, gesturing towards the open classroom door.

The International Department, located in Marquis Hall, hosts events throughout the semester called the Global Grounds Café, where international students volunteer to educate their peers on the culture and traditional foods of their home country.

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Each color of the Granada flag represents something different within the culture. Red is the symbol of courage, yellow is wisdom and warmth, and green is vegetation. Anjulie Van Sickle | Staff Writer

“[I come] first to learn about their culture, second to learn about their country and third to learn about their food,” Nguyen said.The event allows international students to show their pride and love for their country. The students also find ways to connect with one another.

“I’ve met a lot of great international students and I love hearing stories about where they came from and how they got here,” peer mentor and interdisciplinary studies junior Ashely Wilkinson said.

This Global Grounds Café presentation was about Grenada, a small island in the Caribbean. Before walking into the classroom, students picked up Grenada flags and handmade Grenada stickers. Wilkinson sat at a table, welcoming students and checking them in.

“[These presentations] are a way of acculturating not just the students, but [also] teaching others—the domestic students—about other countries,” assistant director of the international department Yunju Langran said. “Even international students get to learn about other countries and cultures.”

The Global Grounds Café started about three years ago when students began approaching staff in the international department with a desire to share their native cultures. All presenters at the Global Grounds Café volunteer to put the presentation together and will sometimes cook their own traditional foods.

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Student volunteer Thao Nguyen serves jerk chicken, a traditionally Granadian food, to students after the presentation. Anjulie Van Sickle | Staff Writer

“So far, I think they really enjoy it, to even see that other people are interested in their culture,” Langran said. “It makes them so happy.”

Sociology Ph.D. student Giselle Greenidge presented her home country of Grenada while proudly standing at the front of the classroom. She wore a bright red, yellow and green dress that she designed herself, inspired by the colors of Grenada’s flag.

Greenidge presented Grenada’s history and described the current culture of the island. Grenada is known as the isle of spice because of the nutmeg and other spice exports. She showed videos of picturesque waterfalls and steel drum music.

“The makeup of the people is very multi-racial because you have the French influences and the Spanish and also the British,” Greenidge said. “So that diversity influenced the language and how some of the villages were named.”

Greenidge is from a part of the island called Saint David, she said, as she shared facts and answered questions about her home country with a permanent grin on her face.

“I wanted to share my culture with other people because usually when I tell people I’m from Grenada, they have no idea where that is,” Greenidge said.

After the presentation, students gathered in the lobby and waited for the traditional Caribbean food Greenidge had ordered from Dallas.

Kinesiology doctoral student Alan Chu sipped guava juice while standing in the lobby. This was his eighth time attending the Global Grounds Café.

“I am a person who values diversity, so I like learning about people,” he said. “And I like eating too, so I try the different foods.”

When the food arrived, students flocked around meat pies, fried plantains and jerk chicken. They laughed over the intensity of the spices as they gathered around Greenidge and the Grenada flag for a photo.

The next Global Grounds Café will take place on Nov. 6 and will explore the culture and foods of Vietnam.

Featured Image: International students, staff, and faculty gather around Giselle Greenidge, who is wearing her home country’s colors, after the presentation to show their support for Granada. Anjulie Van Sickle | Staff Writer

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