Clark has always prized itself on its robust cultural diversity. Various clubs and organizations at Clark work very hard all year long to help keep this cultural diversity alive on campus. One of them is the International Students Association. ISA aims to represent the entire international student body on campus. Their first event of the year was International Journey, which took place this past week.
International Journey is an annual international food fair held in the Tilton Hall, where Clark undergrads sign up to represent the cuisine of the country they belong to, or feel a strong sense of belonging towards. The participants are given a certain budget by ISA for buying the ingredients for cooking the food. This year there were over 30 countries and regions represented at the fair.
The event was divided into 2 waves. The first wave of people started at about 2:30 pm and the second at 3:30 pm. The footfall of the event was so unexpected that they ran out of plates in the first wave itself. This year, in an effort to increase student involvement, there was an open mic. There were about 5-6 performances by individual students, groups and the Clark Keys.
I personally think it was a great change in the program; it brought the students together as they cheered each other on. Going on the lines of increasing student participation, ISA teamed up with STIR magazine for the photo booth, where Team STIR created a lovely food related display for the backdrop.
I was also a part of the event as a rep for India. I sneaked out at the beginning of the first wave to try out some food before it was all gone. And my God, was I in some food heaven. I am a vegetarian but I still left the event satiated. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, kosher or love to indulge in some meat, there was something for everyone. All the food stands had allergy warnings and the ingredients of recipe up on a board for everyone to see. In a span of 10 minutes, I got the opportunity to get a taste of 20 countries.
This was authentic food, cooked with a lot of love and excitement. I tried out food from Palestine, the Netherlands, Israel, Brazil, and the ever so spicy Sri Lanka, etc. Most countries ran out of food in the first hour as about 300 people came in and out of the Tilton Hall. The event ended with a voting process, where ISA members went around the room asking for people to vote for their favorite country. Vietnam was the most loved cuisine, followed closely by India.
Food is one of the most important parts of any culture. It represents the rich history, the people and the traditions of a culture. On the day of International Journey, over 300 students interacted and got exposed to a plethora of cultures, music, food and traditions, irrespective of their backgrounds and nationalities. It was quite an amazing sight. Food has the innate power to bring people together, and that is exactly what international Journey did for the Clark community. Also, everything was free for Clarkies, I mean, who doesn’t love some yummy free international food?
*The cover photo was taken by Ram Sharma