International Club introduces world cuisine to students at annual event
3 mins read

International Club introduces world cuisine to students at annual event

University of South Dakota students will be able to experience world cultures April 12, all without leaving the comfort of campus.

The International Club will be hosting its annual Festival of Nations in the Muenster University Center Ballroom starting at 5:30 p.m. Students can purchase $7 tickets to view performances from other cultures, while sampling food from around the world.

Tomas Kamenik, a first-year student from the Czech Republic and president of the International Club, and Naveen Rokkam, a graduate student from India and vice president of the club, have been heavily involved in planning the event.

Rokkam said students from the International Club will be making traditional dishes for the evening.

“We have the flags of different nations that will be set up around the room, then we will have the food stalls of each nation,” he said. “(The international students) can dress up in their traditional dresses and decorate their stalls.”

Everyone is serving something unique to their cultural heritage, including Rokkam and Kamenik.

“We are planning something as a dessert — it’s an Indian dish,” Rokkam said. “So it’s called a bread pudding and we make it out of bread with a little butter and cashews so it’s really tasty. It goes really well with some ice cream as well.”

Kamenik, however, will be cooking up a traditional dish from the Czech Republic.

“I’ll make what we really eat a lot of, which is mozzarella sticks kind of. It’s a common dish when you go out,” Kamenik said.

Rokkam said the goal of the event is to use the common love of food as a way to introduce people to different cultures from around the world.

“This is one of the ways we like to celebrate diversity on campus,” he said.

Patrick Morrison, the international student adviser, as well as the adviser to the International Club, is also involved in the logistics of the event.

“Festival of Nations is sort of USD’s premier international event,” Morrison said. “It essentially is a celebration of cultures from around the world.”

USD has about 200 international students, and Morrison said the Festival of Nations is a way these students can express their culture.

Much of the campus community, such as the Center for Academic and Global Engagement, is also involved in the making of the Festival of Nations, Morrison said.

“I encourage people to attend. I think it speaks to USD’s mission of inclusive excellence,” he said.

The Festival of Nations isn’t simply a way to introduce people to new cultures, but it is also a way to raise money for the Ranaud Scholarship.

The Ranaud Scholarship is a scholarship that is exclusive to international students. Morrison said most international students don’t qualify for federal financial aid due to their lack of U.S. citizenship. One way to amend for the lack of resources is the International Student Scholarship which is funded through events such as the Festival of Nations.

“The best part of the event that motivates me, is helping our members,” Rokkam said.

Kamenik said he believes the event will help students come to a greater understanding of the world around them.

“This club gives students a great chance to meet people from abroad and it gives you a broader perspective,” Kamenik said.

(Photo: University of South Dakota students are served international food during the 2014 Festival of Nations in the Muenster University Ballroom in the Spring of 2014. The annual festival uses food to interoduce students to new cultures. FIle photo / The Volante)