If it’s true that one of the best ways to experience another culture is by tasting the food, then the International Festival provided an experience that was not just about presentation, but a taste for new experience. What better way to do this than by displaying beautiful decorations that interest students and community members about an organization’s particular culture, but also tell a story, igniting people’s imagination with pictures and significant displays.
Photo Credit: Christina Cantero
From around the world, or among the very crowded Bernhard Center East Ballroom, members from WMU international student organizations shared a few cultural stories along with facts about their food.
First, the West Michigan Iranian Community displayed many decorations with great significance, like a traditional marriage setting. One of the symbols was an almond, which is a wish for having a lot of children in marriage, according to a member of the organization.
The WMIC also displayed vinegar, which is a symbol for patience. The organization also displayed a picture of Persian carpet, the most precious carpet in the world, according to a member of the organization.
Second, serving a banana spring roll, soto (a chicken and egg soup) and fried tofu, the Indonesian club served popular traditional Indonesian food.
According to business administration major Filbert Anson, the banana spring roll is served as a side dish or an appetizer, and the fried tofu is enjoyed as a midday snack in Indonesia.
Displaying typical hot drinks sold in Indonesia, Anil Arakkal, engineering management major, said he went home in December to buy Luwak, the world’s most expensive coffee.
“We’re trying to show a street side shop,” Arakkal said. “This is your typical 7-Eleven back home.”
Third, from the German Club, Jenna Hicken said apple strudel is a very popular pastry in Germany.
Germany also featured red cabbage and schnitzel at their table.
“We have a lot of international students from and going to [germany],” said Hicken.
Fourth, Dani Lewis, Bronco African Student Association member, said Sambusa, a traditional food is served primarily for dinner.
Standing with a paneer puff from the Indian Students Association, Laura Cook, biomedical sciences major, said it was really good, describing the food as sweet on the outside with lots of vegetables on the inside.
Adithy Chandra, member of the Saudi Arabian Students Association, said the paneer puff is eaten as a snack in the evening. The puff was very popular at the festival.
Then, at a table full of books about Islam, a member from the Muslim Student Association said many students often ask questions about Islam, so the books help answer questions students may have.
According to the Muslim Student Association, students can attend a question and answer session to ask anything about Islam.
Lastly, The Dominican Student Organization served sweet empanadas and frio frio, which is shaved ice with different flavors. The organization imitated a city, which displayed different than what they did in the past, according to the Dominican Student Organization.
Only a few cultures were written about in this article. For more information on international student organizations and their cultures, visit the International Festival website.