Taste of Nations: Students Honor Each Other Cultures
What do hungry college students want most? Free food, and that’s what 22 tables served to students Friday night at the Vines Center, representing countries around the world as they served staple dishes. The annual event, called Taste of Nations, gives international student clubs the opportunity to share a little slice of home with their peers during Global Focus Week.
Global Focus Week encourages students to share their passion for Christ around the world, not just in their corner of the globe. The International Student Center promotes this ideal through cultural events like Taste of Nations. Through this event, foreign exchange students in campus clubs receive the opportunity to represent their particular country.
Of the 22 tables set up around the Vines Center, countries from South America, Asia, the Middle East, North America and the Caribbean were represented. At many tables, like Vietnam and the Bahamas, students wore traditional clothing to honor their cultures.
Anabelle Knowles, a senior psychology major, is the vice president of the Caribbean Student Association. She wanted to create something authentic but simple, so that she could cook it the day of Taste of Nations and serve it fresh and hot, just like it came out of the oven. Knowles and other club members cooked cracked chicken and baked mac and cheese, traditional dishes for Taste of Nations.
Knowles’s favorite part of Global Focus Week is the chance to celebrate her culture with the entire campus.
“You are able to be with your people and bring a little piece of your culture to something completely different,” Knowles said. “Being able to have people experience it and seeing their face light up from eating your food and them appreciating your culture… is really nice.”
Although the event ran for two hours, Knowles said that the Bahamian table ran out of food after 45 minutes. It wasn’t for lack of food – Knowles and her friends made six trays of baked mac and cheese and four trays of cracked chicken.
“Our line never slowed down,” she said. “One thing about the Bahamas (table) is we always have the longest line.”
Taste of Nations is an annual event, and students eat it up – literally. This year, students ran through the rain to try each country’s cuisine. Stephen Essington, a junior aviation major, attended the event and tried the food at every table, but he especially enjoyed the Tteokbokki served by South Korean students.
“It was cool how many different cultures were represented there all at once and all kind of mingling together. Everyone got to experience… the blending of everything,” Essington said.
Recreating international dishes can be challenging for students who only had access to ingredients from American grocery stores, but the International Student Center (ISC) helped import specific ingredients from other countries, allowing students to serve the most authentic dish possible.
Come to Taste of Nations next year! For more information, visit the Instagram page @luinternationalstudents.
Greene is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion