More than 100 Brookdale students and employees broke down borders and broadened their horizons on April 7 during the 2016 International Festival, held in the Navesink Rooms of the Student Life Center.
The long-running annual event, hosted by the International Student Association, featured the food, music and culture of more than a dozen nations, represented at information booths staffed by some of the more than 100 international students currently studying at Brookdale.
From the folk art of Russia and the music of Mexico to authentic Indian henna tattoos and homemade French desserts, the International Fair offered students a one-day passport to nearly every corner of the globe.
“Our international students have so much to share – from their different traditions, backgrounds and cultures, their food and music – and this fair is really a celebration of that,” said Lucyna Wadych-Ketley, coordinator for Brookdale’s International Education Center and advisor to the International Student Association.
“The club is all about getting students involved. At the fair, American students can walk around and talk to people and get first-hand information about the cultures of the world. It’s a happy spring event that brings everybody together.”
In addition to the information tables – manned by international students from nations such as Guatemala, Poland, Argentina, Greece, Peru and the Dominican Republic – the fair also featured representatives from Brookdale’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter, the Cru club, the International Education Center and Step Up Dance Studio of Spotswood, NJ, which offered free group salsa lessons to dozens of students throughout the afternoon.
The fair also offered a free international buffet, a photo booth featuring traditional clothing from across the globe, and an English Renaissance performance by a troupe of Brookdale arts students.
“I think the fair is a really great opportunity for people who may not have experience with other cultures to learn more about our country,” said International Student Association member Luiza Guaczelli, who was representing her native Brazil alongside fellow student Graziela Fernandes.
“We put out three pretty simple questions about Brazil, including our capital and our language, and a lot of people were unable to answer them. So it’s cool for them to be able to learn something new.”
The International Fair was also an opportunity to highlight the wide variety of cultures and backgrounds found on campus, Guaczelli added, not only among Brookdale’s International Student community but also among the countless first- and second-generation immigrants who work and study here every day.
“There is a big international community here, which you wouldn’t think you would find in a community college like ours,” she said. “Having the club and the International Center here is really helpful. If you ever need anything or if you have any questions, you always have someone to go to. We always hang out together. It’s really like having another family.”
For more information on Brookdale’s International Education Center, click here.
Check out more photos of the 2016 International Festival here.