International Day Cooks up Multicultural Flavor and Experiences

Dylan Turk – Reporter

In collaboration with International Education Week, Clark is hosting International Day on Nov. 15 in the Gaiser Student Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The festival will include a panel of speakers from the most recent study abroad trips, live music, free food from a variety of cultures and tables featuring information about different countries.

This year, the event is coordinated by Jody Shulnak, International Student Recruitment & Outreach Manager. “We are really focusing on our international students, we have students from 32 different countries.” Shulnak said.

International Day used to be a much bigger event that covered a whole week. Though in recent years, Clark College International has consolidated all the different events into one day, in hopes to bring more people.

Shulnak hopes that a lot of students will come learn about other cultures, music and food. She is especially excited about the upcoming study abroad opportunities that include a trip to Peru.

“We will have a student panel of international students that will have a voice and be able to talk about to their experience, their journey to the U.S, and mostly their home countries, and get a chance to highlight where they’re from.” Shulnak said.

The study abroad office will have a table filled with informational brochures about the various opportunities and programs available for students. According to Shulnak, learning about these opportunities is an important part of International Day. “We have a lot of opportunities to travel overseas, and I think it’s some of the College’s best kept secrets,” Shulnak said.

There will also be an hour and a half of live music from Chevrona, a local Portland band. Chervona does a mix of Romany, Russian, Ukrainian, Klezmer and Balkan music.

Food will be provided from local restaurants, serving cuisine inspired by Mexican, Japanese, Indian and Middle Eastern cultures. There will be 20 food vendors at the event, offering samples of samosas, teriyaki chicken, falafel and other international specialities.

“The [food] theme is ‘street eats.’ When you travel around the world, a lot of countries are famous for street foods from food trucks,” Shulnak said. “We want people to mix and mingle and sample the different cultures and food.” Shulnak said.

The Spanish Club will be also be present, celebrating the Day of the Dead with two altars honoring the dead.

There will also be free Henna tattoos offered by Glitter Ruby’s, a tattoo and face paint venue based in the Portland Market. Henna tattoos are a traditional art form from the Middle East.

All of the resources that Clark uses for International Day are provided by these departments, including links and contacts to organizations that help plan similar events. They also provide a media toolkit which includes press releases, photos and logos.

In recent years, Clark has consolidated the weeklong event into one day, in order to increase student participation. Shulnak hopes that a lot of students will come to the event to learn about other cultures, music and food. She is especially excited about upcoming study abroad opportunities, including a trip to Peru.

“We hope to introduce the college community to a variety of culture and their opportunities through Clark College,” Shulnak said. “I hope that attendees will at least have their eyes open to at least one new thing.”  

Clark’s international programs will also be promoting the event on social media, including an Instagram Takeover, where attendees of past Clark College International Day events will post pictures from their home countries or international travels.

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