Students and members of the community are getting a little taste of culture this week. Utica College is hosting a week of international education in which 12 new international exchange students will showcase flags and foods from their country of origin. Although they've come here to learn, international students told me today they've felt it's been their duty to educate and teach other students about their cultures in efforts to break barriers and stereotypes.
"I know that's my mission here." Rahma Voughnim, an exchange student from Tunisia feels pride being an ambassador for her country and educating people about Africa. "I always get the funniest responses because they tell me oh, your from Africa! So you live in the desert, so you don't have WiFi you don't have anything!"it's been her goal to break common stereotypes.. "You have to learn about other countries, you have to learn about other cultures because you don't live alone. You're surrounded by other people and other customs and you have to at least get to know them."
For another student, Roman Khorolskyi, it's been trying to teach others about the differences between the Ukraine and Russia, which he says often get clumped together. "I hope that I've already broken the stereotype that these are very different countries, cultures and so on.. This was sort of my task. So I try to do that."
He says the students at Utica College have been just as curious to get to know him and his culture..."I feel connected and respected, and i really appreciate it. I appreciate the effort and I'm surprised to see there's also food from our countries, so I'm really excited about it." Dean of international education, Chris Johnson, says this week is really all about exposing both American and international exchange students, "Our graduates are gonna go work in a world that's multi-national- it's global and they need to know how to compete and succeed in that world."
The college will be hosting events open to the public until Thursday in celebration of international student week so be sure to check it out.
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