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ISAK annual cultural fair welcomes international students

ISAK annual cultural fair welcomes international students

Tables representing 24 different countries dotted the Peirce lawn. | COURTESY OF INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY AT KENYON

International Society At Kenyon (ISAK) hosted its third annual Cultural Fair on Saturday. The event took place on the Peirce Dining Hall lawn and featured student representatives from 24 countries. 

Fortunately for Cultural Fair attendees, Saturday was a particularly warm and bright day. The weather, along with WKCO Fest down the road, made for a good combination to entice passersby. “Our primary objective is to create a platform that enables international students to showcase their cultures by establishing a country-themed table and providing funding for them to acquire country-specific supplies,” ISAK co-President Cathy Song ’24 wrote in an email to the Collegian. “This event plays a crucial role in fostering understanding and camaraderie among international students, especially helping freshmen feel welcomed and integrated into our vibrant international community.” 

The event gave a chance for students from a variety of national backgrounds to share their culture. Each representative was able to share information about their home country or a specific aspect of their culture, as well as authentic international food. Attendees had the chance to collect stickers from each country as an incentive to visit multiple tables. Once they had five, they could redeem them for their choice of international food.

The joint India-Pakistan table was especially popular. A crowd formed a semi-circle around their table while the representative from India gave a short presentation, and the representatives from Pakistan interjected with disagreements. Playing on the international tensions between these two countries, the representatives would often jokingly get into arguments. On one occasion, the representatives got into what appeared to be a real argument over which country had more cricket World Cup wins.

Organization of the event took place throughout the semester. ISAK’s executive board met every week to plan and arrange for international food and supplies for each country’s representative. “We got over half the funding from [the Business and Finance Committee], which is great but just not enough. While we have previously relied on support from the anti-racism fund, we’ve had to diversify our funding sources as their policies prevent them from sponsoring the same event indefinitely,” Song said. “Fortunately, through collaborations with other campus clubs and requests for departmental sponsorships, we’ve managed to gather the necessary financial support from various organizations.”

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