By Sarah Camden
Rod Library was filled with UNI students and faculty as well as members of the community for the Annual Taste of Culture event on Monday Nov. 11th hosted by the International Students and Scholars Office.
The event celebrates International Education Week and showcases different countries around the world. Some of the countries featured at the event were: Colombia, Peru, South Sudan, Chile and Brazil. There was even an Iowa booth to inform students about Iowa history and culture.
The event also has different cultural food, music, and traditions to learn about. The food at the event was provided by UNI catering, and they ran out of food half way through the event. Some of the foods featured were Papa Rellena from Peru, Patacones from Columbia, Pierogies and onions from Germany, Pao de Queijo from Brazil and Tempura Vegetables from Japan.
Students had set up and represented booths for different countries as well as learned about other countries booths. While walking around the various booths, students got a stamp in their passports for each country they visited which entered them in for the chance to win a prize. Sponsors donated prizes for guests to win at the event.
“Taste of Culture was a good experience for me because I learned about several cultures.” said Ayaka Kohmoto
The International Students and Scholars Office hosted this event. According to Isabela Varela, director of the ISSO, this year there was about 350 people that came to the event.
Valeria Ayala Garces is a graduate student working for the International Students office organized the event and put a lot of work in making sure it was a success. According to Garces, there were a lot of things that had to be done before the big event, from making reservations, recruiting tables of the different countries, getting sponsors for gifts, advertisement, volunteers, catering orders, recruiting entertainment, plus making sure each table had pictures, stamps, maps, and flags.
“The taste of culture is important to promote awareness of the different international students and community.” said Garces.
Many students wore their culture’s traditional outfits to represent their culture. The event featured international music and cultural dances. UNI’s International Dance Theatre and Dance Company performed traditional folk dances from several countries.
Claudia Jimenez represented the Colombia table at the event. This is her second year participating in this event; last year she presented a general view of the location of her country in South America. This year she wanted to show a different perspective of Colombia and chose to share the “magical realism” in literature represented by the author Gabriel García Márquez, who won a Nobel Prize for his masterpiece “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”
The table and her outfit highlights the color in yellow butterflies, as well as one of the color’s in Colombia’s flag. (yellow, blue, and red.) The yellow butterflies are one of the magical realism elements García Márquez incorporated in his work.
“I think it's an important event for the international community of students at UNI. The location this year made us closer to many other students and visitors, as it was easier to get to Rod Library then it is going somewhere else. It is a wonderful space for sharing diverse cultures.” said Jimenez.