International students gather to share food, culture with others


Charlie Coffey/Iowa State Daily

Students trade in tickets and enjoy samples at the Association of Malaysian Students at ISU booth. The booth was set up in the St. Thomas Aquinas Church for an International Foods night on Nov. 13. The event served as a fundraiser for many international student organizations at ISU.

Tong Lin

A variety of smells, flavors and cultures buzzed about the basement of St. Thomas Aquinas Church for the kickoff of International Week.

International Food Night on Nov. 13 in St. Thomas Aquinas Church had a line formed by 6:30 p.m., although the doors didn’t open until 7:30 p.m. By 8 p.m., there were already more than 250 attendees. International Student Council gave this opportunity to ISU students and community members to learn about other countries’ cultures, try different countries’ food and make new friends with people from around in the world.

The event showcased 12 student organizations, representing countries such as Korea, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, India, China and Pakistan. Each organization made their home country’s food, such as fruit punch from the Korean Student Association; tea egg from Chinese Students and Scholars Association and perkedel jagung, or corn fritters, from the Indonesian Students’ Association.

The room was crowded and swirled with the smells of all kinds of food mixed together. People who attended could sit at a table to sample the different foods and meet new people.

The President of the International Student Council, Adli Shah Adnan, a senior in industrial engineering from Malaysia, helped organize International Week.

“International Food Night can give more students opportunities to experience the cultural differences. I am glad that people can engage this event and enjoying themselves as they expected,” Shah said.

Marimar Velaz, junior in apparel, merchandising and design from Puerto Rico, said she likes to experience different cultures.

“The Indian food Bhelpuri that I had tried was so good. I am having fun here, and it’s good to see American students experiencing other countries’ cultures,” she said.

Not only were international students participating, but American students also came to learn from others. Jonah Mueller, junior in mechanical engineering from the United States, said he enjoyed the event too.

“The food is delicious, I have tried so many foods that I had never had before. I have been to China so I am really excited for the bubble tea,” he said.

Hao Wang, sophomore in pre-architecture from China, represented the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.

“We have great food here. Wingtemlon, tea egg and jelly is what we have for people tonight,” Wang said. “I really hope everyone can try our Chinese food.”

About 500 people attended the event, said Cindu Annandarajah, vice president of the International Student Council, up from the 200 to 300 who attended last year. 

Shah said he thinks the attendance increased partly because Veishea was canceled just before the international food fair.

The International Student Council will have an International Dance Night on Nov. 14, an International Bazar on Nov. 18 and an International Night on Nov. 20.