When signing up for Around the World in 60 Minutes; Isha Sharma, a first-year international student from India, knew what she had to keep on the table. Her items included a big Indian flag spread across the space, a used cricket ball from back home, and of course a selection of Indian sweets and snacks from Wegmans.
Showing the World Where You Are From
This was the best representation of India that she and the other international students from India could manage to showcase where they are from. The items laid out across the table represented their country, their culture and themselves.
“I participated in Around the World because it was a great opportunity to show off my culture and values,” Sharma explained. “I made people taste some Indian snacks while telling them information about where I was from.”
The first event was hosted by the Ithaca College International Club on Oct. 23, as part of its annual week-long festival known as International Education Week. It was an opportunity for all international students to showcase themselves by tabling objects, artifacts and food from their respective countries.
“I strongly think that such events are important and help showcase the international community at IC,” Sharma said. “Through these phenomenal and diversified events, we can learn about different cultures and we can make people aware of the beauty every culture has.”
Why is This Important?
The aim of this event is to provide a closer in-depth look into who the international community on campus are. None understand this better than the Creative Director for the International Club, Walt Martzen, a junior international student from Singapore.
“The importance of showcasing various cultural artifacts from international students has the potential to be not only eye-opening for students who have never been out of their own culture, but it also has the potential to be very empowering for international students who need to feel a piece of home,” Martzen said.
He has been a part of the International Club executive board since his first year on campus, and is now Creative Director of the club, in charge of ensuring each event has a creative spin on it, while keeping true to the International Education Week theme of the year.
“I think a lot of close-mindedness and bigotry comes from a lack of exposure to the beauty of difference.”
Martzen explained that the event serves not only to help the United States student population know more about the international community, but also for international students to understand their friends even better.
“I got to try things from the countries that my friends are from, which really helped me better understand what feels like home for each of us” Martzen said in relation to the personal gain he gets from this event. “There is nothing more powerful, I think, than the kind of education that doesn’t feel like education. Knowledge through fun is what we aim to achieve during such an event.”
After the first event, the International Education Week continued with a discussion panel on Transnational Feminism with a focus on feminism in Islam, followed by a celebration of Diwali the Hindu festival of Light, and a salsa night where students learned salsa dancing from other international students.
The week ended with the club’s biggest event of the year, the One World Concert, where students and groups from Ithaca College and Cornell University performed music, dance, and entertainment of all kinds to bring together the international community in Ithaca.