The multicultural diversity among Brock University students is unique and stretches across campus, as the community interacts with many individuals who are studying in St. Catharines via an international exchange or study abroad program. With this in mind, International Student Services once again hosted their very successful Celebration of Nations event, which took place this year on Mar. 5.
In a market-style atmosphere, tables and display boards were set up along the perimeter of Pond Inlet, showcasing over 60 countries, including Egypt, Lithuania, Colombia, France and Nigeria. Each table was staffed by Brock students who highlighted distinctive elements of their culture to the community, such as a tea ceremony from China, traditional dancing from Ghana, and a student from the Saudi Arabian booth writing attendees’ names in Arabic.
Various foods were available for sampling throughout the afternoon, including a vast selection of drinks such as oolong tea from Japan, mango juice from the Philippines and sparkling pineapple juice from Portugal.
Many students’ family members also staffed the booths, serving to enhance the cultural knowledge of their country.
Fajar Sarwar, fourth-year Business Administration student, attended the event with her twin sister Maira, both immersing themselves in the diverse environment, as well as interacting with students at the tables.
“What is amazing about this event is that it opens your eyes to the variety of cultures that are here on-campus. There are all of these sub-cultures within them as well, ones that so many of us don’t even know about. It’s important to shine a light on them,” said Sarwar.
“This event is important because it’s a great opportunity to dispel any misinformation that students and the community may have about certain cultures,” said second-year Political Science student, Roxanna Eskandarpou, who was representing Iran.
“I find that it happens a lot when people think of the Middle East. The greater Niagara region would benefit from attending this event to learn more about what our culture is really about.”
While some of the students at the booths are domestic, Celebration of Nations also drew in many international and exchange students, who were more than willing to showcase their homeland, including Australian-native, Ashley McPhail.
“For starters, the people here are much friendlier and I just can’t get over how much I love the snow,” said McPhail, as she was sampling the infamous vegemite on crackers. “The food here is really different, as well. It’s hard to find healthy food, and if I do, it’s expensive. Everything tastes like oil so you’ll usually find me at Booster Juice for that reason.”
The International Student Services department is already looking for participants for next year’s event on Mar. 3, 2016. If you’re interested in showcasing your culture to the broader community, visit brocku.ca/international-services/student-services/Celebration_of_Nations to find the submission form and additional information. As space is limited, it is important to sign up as soon as possible.