The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s International Student Council hosted a multicultural expo in the Student Union Friday, April 26.
Those who attended were treated to trivia games, international food and international music, as well as opportunities to learn about different cultures at display tables.
The ISC gave out gift cards to various local restaurants such as Olde Tyme Grocery and Pizza Artista as prizes for giving correct answers to trivia questions. Many students eagerly participated in hopes of winning.
Some countries’ display tables gave away samples of local cuisine, such as the Saudi Arabian table which gave guests samples of both Eastern-style and Western-style Saudi Arabian coffee and dates which are meant to pair well with the coffee.
Many tables had a poster board displaying interesting facts about their country as well as natives from the countries who were eager to share their nation’s way of life with the attendees.
“It’s fantastic. We have 12 members of the International Student Council from nine different countries. All of them are working very hard to represent the university,” Executive Director of Global Engagement Gabriel Carranza said.
Carranza stressed the importance of representing all the different ethnic groups who attend UL Lafayette as well as helping locals learn more about other cultures.
“We want to impact 100% of the population of the university. We want every student to understand that getting a global perception is very important in getting a quality education,” he said.
Rahul Prashan Anand, a member of UL Lafayette’s Malaysia Indonesia Singapore Student Organization, said attending the expo was too good of an opportunity for students to pass up.
“When you (attend) a university filled with 10, 20, 30 different cultures, you should learn about them,” Anand said. “You get food, you get knowledge, and you get to play, so why not?”
Spanish Club President and Global Operations Manager at the ISC Austin Billedeaux said the expo could help students become more open to other cultures.
“Once you get interacting with (international students) it opens up your mind,” he said. “When you talk to people and see their mindset, you see the way they look at things and the way you look at things are very similar but at the same time very different. It just gives you a new outlook on life.”
While several people thought the event was a success, others were disappointed.
“(The expo) is OK, but I expected more activities that would get other cultures together,” Kornyoh Paul, a member of the African Student Association, said. “If I want to talk to someone in the Spanish station, I have to approach the person and if I’m not an open-type, I’ll find myself alone.”
He said he felt like some more activities would have given the event some much-needed order as well.
Ryan Strong, a freshman mechanical engineering major visiting the expo, said he enjoyed the expo and thought it was a great opportunity for the UL Lafayette community to learn about other cultures.
“We don’t really know about all the cultures that are going to school with us. We might know somebody’s foreign, but we don’t talk to them to learn where they’re from and learn about their country,” Strong said.