By JOSEPH STENDER
Lycoming College celebrated the multi-cultural world they live in, with the campus's first-ever International Education Week. The week coincides with the state's month-long celebration of international studies.
Members of the Lycoming College community gather during the Global Expo to learn about the countries of international students. Students learned about the food, clothing and culture during the college’s International Education Week.
Oceane Bitaille, center, a Fulbright scholar from France, shows students how to make crepes — a French dessert — during Lycoming’s International Education Week celebration.
"It's like a little world in one room," said Oceane Bitaille, a Fulbright scholar and language assistant from France.
The celebration featured different activities each night of the week. There were games, food and a Global Expo for students to learn about different cultures.
MaryJo Campana, director of career services, said it was also an opportunity for local and international students to meet and learn. She said usually the 27 international students are not noticed on a campus of 1,400 students.
"Some of the students are not aware of international students," said Ly Lee, a student from Vietnam. "Now they know more."
International students wore traditional clothing and at a dinner, prepared food from their countries.
Students also had the chance to learn how to make the dishes.
"I love sushi but I never thought about the process that goes into it," said Amanda Watsula, a junior.
Campana said it was also a way for all students to connect. She said students found themselves saying, "They get just as homesick as I do."
But instead of living a couple hours away, these students are living in a different country.
"It was really hard to not celebrate the holidays with my family," said Amal Sayed, a student from Saudi Arabia.
"It's really pretty cool for the students because then they feel connected with our community," Campana said.
Duong Pham, student from Vietnam and president of the multi-cultural awareness group, said it showed students they are not alone - there are other cultures in the world.
"I feel like they're not really used to a diverse culture," she said.
The expo featured the flags from all countries represented on campus.
Some students wanted to show their country in a positive light.
"My goal is ... to change their picture of Afghanistan," said Shafiqullah Mujaded.
Students who studied abroad also were able to present about their host country.
Marcy McLaughlin - who studied in London last spring - said the week gave students who couldn't study abroad the chance to see different cultures.
"It brings the experience to them," she said.
McLaughlin was a part of the royal wedding experience but also said it was different being part of the minority.
"It was interesting to be on the other side of the coin," she said.
Students could learn about the different cultures and could build relationships.
Bitaille said students loved the crepes - a French dessert - she made and have asked her to have crepe parties.
Mujaded made friends and felt a little more at home.
"I befriended them and they befriended me. And we went out into town together," he said.