Spanning the globe on Hayden Lawn
Bright cultural artifacts, the murmur of foreign tongues and the savory smell
of foods from nine different countries melded together on Hayden Lawn Wednesday
for the 20th annual World Festival, hosted by the Coalition of International
Hundreds of students strolled through the 23 tables representing more than 100
countries looking at cultural exhibits, reading about different countries and
customs and munching on snacks like falafel, spring rolls and Indian frybread.
Spanish guitar music, Afghan cultural singing and Middle Eastern dancing were
among the performances on a stage nearby.
Mason Murphy, international student adviser for the International Student
Office, said the event celebrates the heritage and culture of student groups.
"It gives a great representation of the University," he said of the festival.
"It showcases the breadth of the international students [on campus]."
Computer science freshman David Bendit said people should take time to
understand the different cultures on campus.
"It's a lack of understanding that leads to a lot of problems," he said.
Martha Christiansen, associate dean of Student Affairs and director of
Counseling and Consultation, said international students made up about 5 percent
of the student population during the fall 2007 semester.
There were 3,481 international students on campus, representing 125 different
countries, she said.
The Institute of International Education — an independent, nonprofit
international education and training program — recently named ASU one of the top
25 institutions for hosting international students, Christiansen said.
And because ASU is focused on international cooperation and growth, she said,
it's important to have events like the World Festival on campus.
"It's amazing to imagine that this has been growing and spreading and improving
for the last 20 years," she said.
Knowledge is getting more attainable and specialized, Christiansen added.
"At ASU, we fully understand that the world is getting smaller," she said.
"We're committed to reaching across the oceans while still sitting in the
School of Global Studies freshman Monica Urrea said knowing about other cultures
promotes friendliness between different groups.
"People are afraid of what they don't understand," she said after visiting a
table celebrating Taiwan. "This is a way for people to learn about things they
otherwise would have no knowledge of."
Business management freshman Ruben Serna said he's interested in traveling to
other countries and learning about their cultures is an important part of that.
"You want to have an open mind," he said. "The more you know, the better."
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