Around the World in a Few Steps

Posted on Nov 18 2013 - 6:24pm by Guest Writer

By Shunying Wang, Guest Writer

“Your business will be successful most of the time.”

Nomiun Gankhuyag, Mongolia’s country representative, sat by the entrance area of Around the World exhibition and performed fortune telling for her audience. To get one telling, one would shake anklebones of four colors — red, blue, green and yellow– in hand and throw them onto a piece of rug made out of sheep fur. This was only one of the many cultural activities you would get to experience without spending too much time or losing a single penny if you had visited the exhibition in Hong’s main lounge.

Last Wednesday, Nov. 13, international students and students who have studied away hosted tables that represented various countries’ highlighted cultures in Hong hall’s lounge room during International Education Week.

“I want to see what the whole school is presenting,” first-year Rainy Aberle said. “It is not just one culture but a lot of different cultures are presented here.”

Besides Mongolia, there were 11 other countries that were also tabling during the display.  Moving from one corner of the room, the crowds strolled through a variety of interactive activities, past Japan’s table, which demonstrated calligraphy art by writing people’s names in Japanese, past France’s table where a mini French place matching game was available to play, past Vietnam’s table where traditional outfits from different regions were ready for tryout, past the table of Thailand where one learned to write Thai, to the next corner of the room where Norway had set a table for waffle and cheese tasting. And the display continued. It went on to Mexico, America, Trinidad & Tobago, China, Germany and Dominica.

“It is cool to see what people think is special about each culture,” junior Evan Koepfler said. “It is fun to learn about each individual culture from people who are part of those cultures.”

Gankhuyag, also the event organizer of this exhibition, said that the display provided PLU community an opportunity to learn about diverse cultures. Each table showcased a country’s local cultures in various forms to create a unique cultural experience for the audience.

“Aside from great learning experience, it is lots of fun preparing for the event and introducing the countries,” Gankhuyag said.

As PLU attaches great importance to international education, Akane Yamaguchi, associate director of International Student Services, said, it is necessary to develop a global setting for student leaders. She said that for students who are timid, Around the World offers a place for them to have more one on one conversation with the audience and introduce different cultures in a setting not as intimidating.

This is the second time Around the World has been introduced to the PLU community, but it attracted more people than expected. According to Yamaguchi, the purpose of this event is to celebrate diversity and cross-campus collaboration among International Students Services, the Wang center, Office of Admissions, and Residential Life. “I think the event turned out pretty good,” Yamaguchi said. “But I didn’t think that so many people could come. We will return with a larger venue next year.”

“It is really good to bring all the cultures together,” sophomore Virak Pheng said, barely looking away from a traditional Chinese game, Mahjong, he was playing. When asked what he wanted to see next year, he said maybe Egypt.