Foreign food fuels festival

Sampling Mexican pan dulce, Lillian Ulloa and Shanae Diaz were drawn to the Latino Student Forum’s table at the International Festival by the colorful display. The festival educated University of La Verne students about ethnic cultures from around the world. It was sponsored by the International Student Organization and the International and Study Abroad Center. / photo by Maria Villalpando

Flags, exotic foods, ethnic music and the many booths of the International Festival ushered in the first major event in the International Education Week on Tuesday in Sneaky Park.

Through the enticing of a free meal, crowds of students gathered to have a bite to eat and roam through the many booths exposing them to interesting facts about countries represented in the University of La Verne community.

“It gives the opportunity to display our countries,” said Wei Huong, a freshman e-commerce major who helped run the China booth. “It’s very good.”

Decorated from behind the table with scrolls showing Chinese calligraphy, along with food and displaying the logo and the five new mascots for the 2008 Olympic games, the China booth attracted attention.

Students from a Core 305 classes, the Latino Student Forum and the International Student Organization set up the booths for the festival.

Countries represented with booths included Spain, Japan, India, Thailand, Iran, France, Albania, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Taiwan, Mexico, Brazil and Puerto Rico.

Students were invited to have an Albanian lunch while listening to music from countries that were represented. Phil Hofer, director of the international and study abroad center and acting DJ, played music from Ecuador to Sri Lanka.

Aside from the booths and food, students were also able to partake in dancing with Albanian students. Three students were asked to join an Albanian student in showing a simple dance from her country.

The students held hands, and walked in a circle while shuffling their feet in tone with the Albanian tune.

“It was fun because it was simple, you didn’t have to worry about the moves,” said Dylan Haro, a freshman psychology major who participated in the dance.

The Albanian cuisine was not the only thing students were able to taste; many of the booths also had food samples for students who passed by.

“A lot of cultures were well represented,” said J.P. Mejia, a senior psychology major and one of the students in charge of the Iran booth. “I’ve seen plates full with various foods.”

Some of the tasty treats offered by the booths included baguettes and petite palmiers from France, fried dumplings from China, pan dulce from Mexico, baklava from Iran and much more.

While food was a must for many booths, some had other ways of attracting attention. The Puerto Rico/Brazil booth had a game whereas Thailand and Japan had people wearing traditional clothing.

The Festival was sponsored by the International and Study Abroad Center and the ISO.

Andres Rivera can be reached at

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