International students share their cultures at annual welcome party

“Increasing global competence, understanding and partnership” is the core of Missouri International Student Council’s mission statement, and the International Welcome Party provided cultural knowledge for all who attended.

MISC sponsors the party every year, as international students from all over the world attend the University of Missouri and are eager to share more about their homelands. On Sept. 6, around 1,000 MU students and Columbia residents attended the event at the MU Student Center.

Twelve cultural organizations, each representing a country, were present. MU students who originated from other countries worked together to provide tasty bites of their authentic cuisine, in addition to having native clothing, art, and other informative pieces from their homelands. Exhibitors shared food and explained their cultural customs.

Upon arrival, visitors were given an armband and handed an empty plate. They then worked their way through the labyrinth of tables collecting samples of food from countries across the globe.

Ahsaan Niazi, an international student from Islamabad, Pakistan, said he is thoroughly enjoying his time here on campus, but misses the flavors of home.

 “Being here there is a variety of food, but it lacks in taste compared to what I am used to,” Niazi said. “In my home we use lots of spices, and our restaurants are open until eleven. On campus everything seems to close at six.”

Ayan Farah, is a biology student from Kansas City, but her family originated from Somalia. Farah heard about the event from the African Student Association and said she was very pleased take part in the tasting.

“I was able to try a lot of the food before I got full,” Farah said. “It’s a great event because people never know if they like culturally different food until they try it.”

The International Welcome Party has been held for several years and is an outlet to unite students from local and international communities. MISC helps these visitors relate to MU’s more than 2,247 international students by allowing them to be immersed in the event.

Payton Babcock is a small-town girl from southwest Missouri. She applauds MISC for their excellent work in providing a space where far corners of the world can come together.

 “I love the entire idea of this event,” Babcock said. “Students like me have never had authentic food from Iran or several of these other countries. I am full for right now, but I can’t wait until next year’s party.”