International Culinary Experience Like No Other.

AIS members

In the late 1980s, Harold Hall, who at that time was serving as director of international recruitment, organized a small gathering for the international students of Mount Union College to get together and enjoy food from the different countries they came from. The students cooked food from their respective countries and brought it to the gathering to share with their peers. Each year, due to the increase in international student admissions, the gathering got bigger. Soon, the international students brought guests to the gathering.

Close to 30 years after that first gathering, the International Dinner is now organized by the Association of International Students (AIS). The event is held annually and has been a collaboration between AIS and the University of Mount Union’s food service provider, AVI Foodsystems.

This year’s International Dinner featured three festivals as its theme – Lunar New Year from China, Pongal from India and Day of the Dead from Mexico. Tables were decorated with paper dragons, which were hand-made by AIS members, chalk drawings (done with color pencil this time) and hand-painted mini skulls. The skulls were not as intimidating as I had expected. Being colored so extensively, they actually look… nice.

This year, the food represented countries including Greece, Romania, Thailand and Jamaica.

Greek Salad – Greece (for obvious reasons)

Stuffed Mushrooms – Italy/America

Pad Thai – Thailand (again, for obvious reasons)

Jerk Chicken – Jamaica

Ciorba Soup – Romania

Chocolate Fondue – France/Switzerland

The performances during the dinner were by Mount Union’s very own international students. The night featured singing and dancing and ended with a traditional Japanese dance called “So-Ran Bushi.” The traditional dance was performed by the Japanese students of Mount Union and depicts ocean waves and the tasks of fishermen.

It was a great night and I couldn’t help but feel relieved. Planning this with the other executive board members of AIS was stressful. At the end of the day, it was worth all the time spent. I had the opportunity to meet some great people from the Alliance community and also faculty members.

Now that this is over, I can finally eat, sleep and BREATHE normally again.

Which makes me wonder… what’s next for AIS? Wait and see.

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