Festival feeds appetite for exploring other cultures
March 12, 2006
KALAMAZOO--Area residents will have a chance to learn about other countries as well as sample exotic cuisines during Western Michigan University's 17th annual International Festival Sunday, March 19, from 4 to 8 p.m. in the East Ballroom of the Bernhard Center.
Admission is free to the event, which spotlights more than 14 nations on five continents, and food will be sold for a nominal fee.
The International Festival is a global open house that attracts about 4,000 students and community members each year. It allows participants to "travel" around the world in a single evening while gaining an appreciation for WMU's cultural diversity.
WMU enrolls more than 1,250 international students from nearly 100 countries, ranking among the nation's top 70 universities in terms of international enrollment.
The university also supports a wide variety of international student groups. Among those participating in International Festival 2006 are the Korean Student Association, Latino Student Association, Malaysian Student Organization, Russian Club and Indonesian Student Association.
"Students start planning the festival months ahead of time, and many will be up early on March 18 to help prepare their country's cuisine and set up cultural displays," says Kristen Morin, assistant director of Student Activities and Leadership Programs. "Many will also be at the event dressed in traditional costumes, providing entertainment and serving ethnic dishes and drinks."
The International Programs Council and Campus Activities Board organize the fesitival, which is sponsored by the Haenicke Institute for Global Education, Division of Student Affairs, University Cultural Events Committee, Graduate Student Advisory Committee and Western Student Association.
Media contact: Kristen Morin, 269 387-2118, firstname.lastname@example.org