In recognition of the countless cultures and backgrounds that make up the Brookdale community, members of the International Students Association and the International Education Center came together on April 5 to host the 2017 International Festival in the Student Life Center.
More than one hundred students attended the festival, which featured information booths offering seemingly endless varieties of international cuisine, music, cultural artifacts and other items from countries across the globe.
Each booth was created and manned by Brookdale students hailing from countries including Mexico, Italy, Romania, Venezuela, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic and Russia. Internationally oriented student groups such as Dreamers +, Circle K International, the Jewish Student Union and the Black Student Union were represented as well.
According to International Education Center director Janice Thomas, the annual festival is designed to shine a spotlight on Brookdale’s kaleidoscopic cultural makeup and provide an open forum for students to ask questions and more fully appreciate their classmate’s backgrounds.
“The International Festival is meant to celebrate diversity,” Thomas said, “and also to educate students to the many cultures that make up our community.”
Students were also greeted with a number of unique performances and amenities, including a traditional dance performance mimicking Renaissance England, choreographed karate and bellydance routines, and free custom works of Mehdni, a form of temporary body art that originated in India.
The fair, Thomas said, was a vivid representation of Brookdale’s eclectic campus community, which boasts thousands of first- and second-generation immigrants along with more than 160 international students representing nearly every continent on earth.
Marco Mastellone, a first-year international student from Italy majoring in international studies, was particularly impressed by this year’s fair.
“It’s fascinating to compare the different cultures and ideas,” he said. “Although someone’s culture is different from mine, it doesn’t make any one way of life right or wrong. It’s very eye-opening.”
Learn more about Brookdale’s International Education Center here.
Check out more photos from the 2017 International Festival here.
-Article by Minh Connors, college relations intern