TROY University’s American and international students had the opportunity to bring cultures together during International Education Week.
The week, which took place Nov. 12-17, included events that brought domestic and international students together.
The “Tastes of the World” event on Wednesday, Nov. 15, allowed students to sample foods from different countries. It also included a dessert contest, where students could taste and judge desserts from around the world.
“My favorite part of the week is just seeing Americans so impressed by how different any culture can be,” Indiana Poret, a senior pre-law major from France, said during the event. “When y’all discover something new, you’re like ‘Oh my God!’ So, just seeing that it’s a big world is really interesting.”
Students also had a chance to learn phrases in a new language during an event Wednesday afternoon. International students taught other students phrases from languages such as Nepalese, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Morgan Brantley, an international student adviser and organizer for the event, said the idea for the language learning session came about because of her personal interest in learning new languages. This is the first year this event has been held.
“Some of them I am really excited about because I feel like they will be hard, like learning some of the more difficult languages,” Brantley said.
She said she hoped that students learned pieces of languages that they usually couldn’t learn in a classroom.
“I think it’s just another way that students can expose themselves to different cultures,” Brantley said. “Not all students can study abroad; not all students have the opportunities to become friends with international students because they are concerned that they don’t really know how.
“So, coming to events like this is a chance for them to build those bridges and make those friends and learn about different cultures.”
Bikash Ruwali, a sophomore economics and business administration major from Nepal, and Cristina Rodriguez, a senior graphic design major from El Salvador, each taught a different language during the session.
Ruwali said the event gave American students an opportunity to open an avenue of communication with international students.
“If you were to say ‘hi, hello’ while walking by, you would be easily making them friends,” Ruwali said. “I think that’s the main reason you should learn a new language.”
Ruwali said International Education Week allowed him to meet more international and American students through the events.
“I feel like there is a certain gap between international society and American students in TROY University, and I feel like this week has been trying to bridge the gap.”
Rodriguez said she hoped the language learning session helped American students understand what it is like to learn another language.
“For us, it was learning English,” she said. “It’s not easy, but it’s a way of bringing us together closer.”
Ethan Pierce, a junior criminal justice major from Niceville, Florida, said he felt like the week was a “unique opportunity” for students.
“It (attending an international university) is the only way to truly learn,” Pierce said. “Just being introduced to a new culture and just talking to them is eye-opening.”