CSS Welcomes International Students

The new and largest generation of international students attending The College of St. Scholastica was formally introduced to the college community last Monday, September 12 at Somers Main Lounge. Colorful ethnic dresses and diverse accents characterized the International Student Welcome, an event hosted by the Office of International Student Services. Twenty-nine undergraduate and two graduate students from 16 countries and six continents comprise the incoming international class. This adds up to a total of 75 international students who will be contributing to the diversity of the student body this year; an outstanding number compared to approximately six international students St. Scholastica had just five years ago. Several faculty, staff members and current students admired traditional outfits and enjoyed learning about the international students' backgrounds. Some of the most eye-catching dresses were a "Gho" (Bhutan's traditional outfit) displayed by Pema Wangchug, and a Korean "Han-bok" worn by Debby Choi.

"I love the fact that people show a genuine interest to learn about other cultures and make the new international students feel more at home," said Aayush Kanodia, a junior from India. "You could see how there were at least a couple of faculty and staff members sitting at each table with the students." This event counts among other efforts CSS has made not only to turn the college into a more diverse and culturally rich place, but also to stand true to its Benedictine value of hospitality.

"We have an advantage other big universities do not have and that is that we can be personal in our treatment with our international students" said David Bauman, Assistant Dean of Students for Advising and Retention and member of the Office of International Student Services. "The recently opened Multicultural Center [the room with large glass doors located in the Student Union] puts a physical place to the effort we are doing at celebrating multiculturalism."

It is also important to point out that the current situation at St. Scholastica contrasts with that of other institutions around the U.S.

"Recent statistics show that the international student population in universities and colleges in the Midwest is decreasing" said Sanjiv Lamsal, President of the International Club. "I am very excited ours is getting larger and better." "

Although a specified target for the ideal international student population was not revealed, Associate Director of Admissions, Ollie Meyer said that, "the college will keep thriving to expand the percentage of international students on campus."

"This obvious increase in the international student population will have an impact on campus, and we are sure it will be a very positive one" said Alison Champeaux, the International Student Advisor.

Food, dance featured at Cultural Night

Last Friday the InterNational Club (inc) hosted Cultural Night in Somers Main Lounge. To start off the festivities, all welcomed guests snacked on hor d'oeuvres and chatted with the diverse crowd of people gathered. Then, after a brief speech from the IC president Raj Mukherjee, everyone dug in for some delicious ethnic dishes from around the world.

Neatly draped from an overhang were flags from every country represented at the event. Twenty-one different countries invited students to enjoy their culture, if only for one night. The Nepalese made their famous MoMo's. Vegetable fried rice and white rice, two dishes that accompany most meals in Asia, were enjoyed by many students at the event. Fried plantains from Colombia were a sweet treat to contrast all the hot spices in the rest of the meal. Seafood Gambo and Cultta curry (a dish from India) finished out the meal. Some students even used two plates to enjoy the variety of dishes available.

After about half an hour, the dishes began to dwindle as the last call for seconds was made. It was no surprise that there were no leftovers. After the meal the music was turned up for people to start dancing. International students demonstrated their own culture's dances, and the rest of the crowd attempted to match the example.

Africa, Asia, South America, and some of our own North American dancing traditions were all shown on the dance floor that night. Next, Rumbi Sithele, an exchange student from Zimbabwe, demonstrated some traditional African dances for the group. It was new to most onlookers and some students not known for their dancing abilities even got a chance to try. Nathaniel Smith was invited into the middle of the circle during some of the African dancing.

"It was fun to learn about other people's culture through dancing. And wow could they dance!" Smith said. Following Rumbi's dancing, the group got to sample some salsa moves. Moving your hips seemed to be the secret, but was a lot harder than the brother-sister duo of Luisa and Julian Neira let on. They breezed through a salsa routine or two with ease while trying to teach the crowd of Minnesotans--a difficult task indeed!

Next, an energetic Amruta Hunnurkar showed everyone some ethnic Indian dancing. The dance stressed a heavy beat with lots of spins and arm movement. Lastly there was another brother-sister duo of Dawit and Fee Zewde who showed the crowd an Ethiopian dance that involved intricate leg movement accompanied with shoulder bobs. Many talented dancers and other new dancers all came together to try the new dances

"This is an opportunity to share our cultural food, music and dances. It gives people a better understanding of our home country," said Sanjiv Lamsal.

Next, an energetic Amruta Hunnurkar showed everyone some ethnic Indian dancing. The dance stressed a heavy beat with lots of spins and arm movement. Lastly there was another brother-sister duo of Dawit and Fee Zewde who showed the crowd an Ethiopian dance that involved intricate leg movement accompanied with shoulder bobs. Many talented dancers and other new dancers all came together to try the new dances.

Next, an energetic Amruta Hunnurkar showed everyone some ethnic Indian dancing. The dance stressed a heavy beat with lots of spins and arm movement. Lastly there was another brother-sister duo of Dawit and Fee Zewde who showed the crowd an Ethiopian dance that involved intricate leg movement accompanied with shoulder bobs. Many talented dancers and other new dancers all came together to try the new dances.