Cultural Café | Kent State University

KSU International Students Offer an Inside Look at Their Home Countries at Cultural Cafés

To foster multicultural diversity and awareness on campus, International Student and Scholar Services at the Office of Global Education sponsors a series of Cultural Cafés every semester. Each month, students, faculty and staff are invited to the informal and free Café that seeks to educate and familiarize them about the home countries of our international students. During each Cultural Café, two international students from different countries give a short presentation about their home countries. The presentations can include photographs and feature information about their traditions and culture, government, history, geography and food. In addition, the presenting students often include demonstrations of traditional songs or dances, while actively encouraging audience participation.

Cultural Café Schedule, Spring Semester 2018
  • Wednesday, February 28. 4:00 to 5:30 pm. Kent Student Center Ballroom Balcony (3rd Floor). Countries to be presented: Australia and Saudi Arabia.
  • Wednesday, March 21. 4:00 to 5:30 pm. Kent Student Center Ballroom Balcony (3rd Floor). Countries to be presented: Finland and India.
  • Wednesday, April 18. 4:00 to 5:30 pm. Kent Student Center Ballroom Balcony (3rd Floor). Countries to be presented: Rwanda and Vietnam.

Perhaps the most attractive and interesting feature of the Cultural Cafés is the traditional food dishes from the presenting countries, which Café guests can enjoy during the intermission between the two presentations. The student presenters provide the ethnic recipes for the dishes to Dining Services, which then prepares the food. Dining Services prides themselves in preparing and presenting the food in an authentic manner, so the presenters can offer attendees a “true taste of home.” Because each entree and dessert is traditional to the presenters' native country, it can be unusual for American palates, although there is always good reviews.

"One difficult task is selecting which two countries will present each month from the over 100 nations represented by international students on the Kent campus," continues Schwarz. "We feature countries with high international student populations such as India and China, which were featured in the first Cultural Café of the 2016 Fall Semester on September 14, during which we had a great turnout of more than 200 students, both international and domestic."

During the spring semester 2016, the Office of Global Education hosted presentations featuring well-known countries such as Portugal, Ukraine, the Philippines, South Korea, Ethiopia and Poland, along with lesser known countries like Cape Verde and Tajikistan. The traditional cuisine for Cape Verde was called pudim de peixe, also known as fish pudding and the dessert was pudim de quiejo, or cheese pudding.  The presenter from Tajikistan, LoLagul Raimbekova, gave an educational, yet moving presentation about the hardships in her home country and how much more freedom she has in the United States. The food that accompanied her presentation was manti with an 8-layer honey cake for dessert.

Visit OGE’s International Calendar of Events for notifications about upcoming Cultural Cafés. Everyone is welcome to attend and they're always free.

“The Cultural Cafés are always fun and it really opens your eyes to countries you know nothing about. Meeting other international students is always a plus, but I make sure to go for the free food.” – Laticia Andretta, freshman from Brazil.