Students and members from the community traveled the world in one night tasting authentic cuisine, listening to music and gaining cultural awareness through Passport to the World.
Office of International Affairs and Global Lions sponsored the annual event.
International and Education Abroad students represented their home country or a country they are passionate about at this event. Participants were able to taste food, learn about the culture and see photos and special talents from a variety of countries.
“Passport to the World tries to share cultures from across the world with people,” said Zachethung Tsanglao, a Navigator with the Office of International Affairs. “Most Americans do not have the opportunity to travel, and Passport to the World serves as an appetizer to world travel.”
Over 23 countries were represented during the event. Each table set up in the Guillot University Center Banquet Halls included an informational display, pictures and food from the country. International students were encouraged to perform dances and sing songs from their native country during the event.
Participants received a paper passport during the event. This passport could be stamped with each represented countries’ flag at each table.
“This event is an event for international students to share their culture with domestic students,” said Chuck Chiriaco, Office of International Affairs student worker. “We like to grab as many of our international students from as many countries as possible, ask them to put together a special treat from their country and poster board and present it tonight to the community.”
Door prizes, such as a refrigerator, a speaker and a Keurig machine were raffled to students
“I think this event is amazing, and in American culture, we need to be aware of other cultures,” said Graci Berryman, coordinator of the event. “I think this is a great opportunity for students and members of the community to come together and learn about other countries and culture.”
Passport to the World concluded International Education Week. IEW is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.
“This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences,” according to una.edu.
IEW was hosted in part by the Office of International Affairs and other various organizations. The mission of Office of International Affairs is for international student population to integrate into the student body and Shoals community.
“Travel is expensive and most of the information you read off the internet about a country is not always accurate, so this event gives you the opportunity to travel for free and get to meet people who are actually from other countries,” Tsanglao said.
Volunteers at the event included members of Global Lions and Navigators.
The Navigator program represents a mixed group of both international and domestic students who act as student ambassadors and mentors for the international student body.
Navigators help the Office of International Affairs with international student orientation, cultural programs, conversation partners, and various events through the fall and spring semesters.