Discover international horizons

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Franchesca Perez

Staff Writer

Cuisine from five different continents and performances from more than 10 countries will be presented by the International Student Cultural Organization at its annual festival on Thursday, Nov. 19.

The ISCO festival is a part of the International Education Week, which will be observed Nov. 15-20. The festival is considered to be the finale of the week’s events.

International Education Week, which is celebrated at colleges and universities across the nation, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

This year’s theme of both International Education Week and the ISCO festival is “International Horizons: Discovering the World.”

The events for the week include an international soccer tournament; various presentations covering topics such as Russia, Cuba and the Republic of Georgia; a fall harvest banquet; and finally, the ISCO festival.

For an admission fee of $12, students can attend the festival and gain experience on various international cultures.

Madina Seytmuradova, a sophomore English major from Dashoguz, Turkmenistan, and president of ISCO, said the purpose of the event is to share international culture and cuisine of the different countries present on campus.

“We are going to have a show with 14 acts put together by our international students and a banquet of 11 dishes that feature recipes from five continents,” Seytmuradova said.

Darlene Schmurr-Stewart, dean of the international program, expressed the importance of domestic students building relationships with international students.

“The chancellor (Jack Hawkins Jr.) believes that the state of Alabama will only make progress by becoming globally aware and connected,” she said. “There are a number of international corporations that are now headquartered here in Alabama, and he believes that domestic students will work for or work with international students in their career.

“This builds an opportunity at the collegiate level for students to begin that process.”

There are several ways students can get involved in the international community presence here on campus.

One way is to attend ISCO meetings, which are held on Thursday nights at 7. Another is to get involved in study abroad programs.

Shelby Wood, a junior social science education and Spanish double major and secretary of ISCO, described her personal experience as a member of ISCO.

“I’ve found ISCO to be the best way to meet people from around the world and make new friends,” Wood said. “Learning about other cultures through ISCO has been the best part of my education. More importantly, I’ve made some of my closest friends in ISCO — something I will forever be grateful for.”

Joe McCall, senior lecturer of history and ISCO adviser, described how the United States is strengthened as a result of strong international connections.

“Living in the era we do, it makes us strong because knowledge improves our position in global interactions and a more global vision helps us to see our limitations,” McCall said. “When we isolate ourselves, all we know is our own perspective.

“When we interact, we become stronger and more sensitive.”

Tickets for the ISCO festival can be purchased at the international office on the ground floor of Hawkins Hall or from any ISCO officer.

Tickets are $10 for ISCO members, $12 for nonmembers, and $15 for faculty members. The festival will be held at the Trojan Center ballrooms on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m.

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