WCC joined hundreds of college campuses across the country in celebrating International Education Week (IEW) last month.
IEW provides an opportunity to celebrate cultural diversity and international education and exchange across the United States, according to the U.S. Department of State’s website.
Activities and events for WCC’s fifth annual celebration focused around music. The week-long festival kicked off with a presentation about creating music in the digital era with WCC music lecturer Renee Arakaki.
“My goal was to try get people from in and outside of the campus who have different skills related to music and of course to teach what goes on internationally and not just here in the U.S.,” said Audrey Mendoza Badua, WCC speech instructor and this year’s IEW event coordinator.
WCC students and visitors experienced various traditions, foods and music from around the world. Places like Okinawa, Scotland, China and Tahiti were just a few countries represented in this year’s festivities.
Other events included keynote speakers from Okinawan performing arts group Ukwanshin Kabudan, a lip-sync battle, Tahitian dancing, Chinese dragon making, a makahiki celebration and more. Activities took place throughout each day of the week at various times so students could participate around their regular class schedules.
Badua said anything with food usually draws crowds. This year’s most popular activity among students and staff was the Soup and Stew Cook-Off, where participants cooked soups and stews from different parts of the world and competed against each other to see whose was best.
“I personally feel that one of the best ways to experience another culture is to taste their food,” said Tiare Kaopua, a WCC student who judged the contest.
“I thought it was cool to see different food bases from around the world,” said WCC student Makana Tani, who attended the cook-off. “You really don’t think about the food but think more about what they do or wear and so forth.”
To help students create a broader worldview beyond college life, Badua said the goal was “exposure.”
“A broader worldview allows you to experience and understand the things you’re not necessarily familiar with or comfortable with, and it helps you to create an open mind,” she said.
“You see the students participating and see them enjoy themselves on campus, rather than just coming for class and then leaving,” Tani said. “I mahalo those that put together this week for the student body because it does make a difference on campus.”
Although Badua said she was very exhausted at the weekʻs end, she said she would do it all again and already has ideas for next year.
“All the energy we put into this week is completely worth it,” she said.
by Ka’ainoa Fernandez, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter