Students skipped buying pricey tickets and sitting in an airplane for hours to explore and savor the aromas and tastes of international cuisine when they attended last week’s “Global Village” at the University Student Union.
They sampled food alongside visitors who wore attire originally developed in the Middle East, Nicaragua, Poland, Italy and India, the countries from which the food originated.
Yeprem Davoodian, the activities coordinator for the International and Exchange Student Center, said the event was organized to promote awareness of CSUN’s international students and celebrate Thanksgiving by partaking in food from their home countries.
“This event benefits our international students also by providing them an opportunity to voice their cultures, traditions, foods and countries,” Davoodian said. “It also allows our international students to participate in cross-cultural interaction.”
“Our international students and American students benefit from one another by engaging in dialogue and communication,” Davoodian said.
The center indicates it offers a variety of events for their international, exchange and American students. Two programs in particular are available year-round, the Mentor Program and SPICE (Students Panels for an International Curriculum and Education).
Davoodian said the mentor program is for international students who require mentors in assisting them with the transition to U.S. culture, resources on campus and mentorship.
SPICE enables international students to visit classrooms to inform American students about their cultures, traditions, values, beliefs and topics relevant to current events.
CSUN student Lucia Laguna, who attended the event, said, “I’ve had some foods from other countries before, like Indian cuisine, but I’ve never had Middle Eastern food.”
Laguna said, “I’m from Mexico and enjoy all types of cooking. I came today because I was hungry, wanted to try something different and see things about other cultures.”
“With so much variety, there was a lot to learn and gain from these students,” Laguna said.
Sepideh Hirmand, a UCLA graduate who was also in attendance, said, “To be apart of a larger group of people that may not share ethnicity, but the desire to receive an education is a rewarding experience.”
“I’m Persian, from Tehran, Iran and now I live here in America. My family and I have lived here since I was a toddler,” Hirmand said. “I’ve always tried to keep my culture alive and not loose the sense of who I am by supporting international-related events.”
“I came today to join a few friends. I’m in graduate school now, but still like to keep traditions going for both future and present students,” Hirmand said. “It’s hard enough transitioning from your native country to America. So to have a community on campus to help with that is beneficial.”
With existing programs and the continuing efforts of Yeprem Davoodian, the International and Exchange Student Center plan to keep promoting awareness of international students who comes from various countries to study at CSUN.
Davoodian said, “The International Club hopes to hold this even annually, every Fall.”