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Glendale Community College international students’ club offers food for thought

Helpings of penne pasta and kebabs as well as cultural and practical information were handed out by the Glendale Community College International Students Assn. Tuesday afternoon at Plaza Vaquero.

The school’s club celebrated International Education Week with a food fair that offered dishes from Japan, Armenia, Thailand, Mexico, Italy and Brazil. Students and staff enjoyed free delectable delights, such as black beans, tacos, Pad Thai and Armenian chicken kebabs.

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“We want people to know we exist,” said Allavhar Duisenbek, a Glendale College international student and native from Kazakhstan, who majors in journalism. “We’re open to making friends, and we’re very curious about American culture.”

According to its enrollment figures, Glendale Community College enrolls between 550 and 600 international students from more than 50 nationalities each semester.

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Some of those students dressed in traditional Japanese attire, such as a casual kimono called a yukata, while others handed out pamphlets with information about their native homes, such as Thailand.

“This week is about celebrating diversity and different cultures,” said Julia Maia, a Brazilian native and Glendale College sophomore who’s majoring in filmmaking.

“We have a lot of things going on this week for people to get to know international students, but also for students to learn about important things like healthcare.”

On Wednesday, the group put on a seminar on health and wellness, while on Thursday, there was an international student resume-writing workshop and a panel presentation titled, “Celebrating the Benefits of International Education.”

“The purpose of [International Education Week] is to showcase the benefits of international education and exchange by promoting programs that prepare Americans for a global environment, and that will attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences,” said faculty adviser Mariah Ribeiro.

Along with food and facts, a demonstration of the Brazilian martial art and dance technique known as Capoeira was also presented.

At least one student who hadn’t planned to attend the festivities was grateful.

“I was headed to [the] administration [building] and I saw the crowd and made some inquires,” Valentine Oanessian said. “I saw the Armenian food and that got my attention, but I also wanted to know about the other nationalities and cultures.”

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