January 28, 2012
Knox College's 2012 International Fair attracted a crowd of students and other visitors Saturday, when everyone was welcome to sample multi-cultural foods and learn more about different countries by watching student performances and stopping by informational booths.
Here's a brief look at what some Knox students had to say about the annual event -- and what makes it special.
An International Fair veteran, junior Rana Tahir's role this year was multi-faceted. She helped staff tables in the Ford Center for the Fine Arts lobby, represented her native country of Kuwait in the traditional flag parade, and danced with the Oriental Hipsters in one of the performances in Kresge Recital Hall. (Photo above: Tahir, second from right, staffs a booth at I-Fair.)
When she was a first-year student, the Knox International Fair "was a way for me to make friends," she said. "This was my way of getting into campus life. It means a lot to me."
She said she appreciates the annual event because of "the ability to share my culture and celebrate the diversity of Knox College's campus."
"I think there's a great sense of community."
First-year Knox College student Son Trinh of Vietnam wore a strikingly blue ao tu than -- traditional Vietnamese attire -- as he helped staff a table in the CFA lobby, where the Asian Student Association offered calligraphy.
He said he wanted to be involved with the 2012 International Fair "to help people know about Vietnam."
His favorite part of his first-ever I-Fair? The food.
"I tasted food from many countries - Germany, Korea, China, Japan. My favorites were the Vietnamese spring rolls and Korean barbecue."
Hali Engelman, a junior from Salt Lake City, Utah, (pictured on the right with Armor Wisler) was one of the student executives in charge of organizing the I-fair. She had helped with the event her previous two years, and wanted to be a part of it again.
"I've enjoyed it a lot before," she said. "All the international students are in one place."
First-year student Armor Wisler, from Freienbach, Switzerland, (pictured on the left with Hali Engelman) showed up as part of the International Club to learn how to be an executive for next year's I-Fair.
"I think the I-Fair shows the importance of diversity," she said.
A junior from Nigeria, Sulihat Mudasiru said she appreciates International Fair because "I like the diversity here."
A participant in earlier I-Fairs, she was enjoying the event as an observer this year.
By eating food and watching performances that are representative of different parts of the world, she said, "It's like I'm visiting all these countries."
"I feel it broadens everyone's perspective."
Abesh Aziz, a dual-citizen of Bangladesh and the United States, was involved in setting up last year's I-Fair. As a sophomore, he came back to apply what he learned from that experience to help this year's event.
Wearing a kurta, traditional Bangladesh clothing, Aziz was enthusiastic about all the different countries and cultures being represented.
"What's great at Knox is that we have all these cultures, but we don't always have the chance to gather. Here, we can have great food, showcase our different backgrounds."
"Usually I wouldn't wear my traditional clothing," Aziz added. "Here, we can be like when we are home."
Jacqueline Davis, a sophomore from Chicago, dressed up especially for International Fair on Saturday, wearing a handmade, traditional Hungarian-style blouse with a red skirt.
She couldn't pick out just one favorite part of I-Fair, saying she likes "the whole thing."
"It's a day where everybody can celebrate different cultures, and national boundaries disappear a little bit," she said. "In celebrating the differences, it brings us closer."
Minda Chen, (pictured below, left) a first-year student from Chengdu, China, decided to go because of his friends, who had been at I-Fair before and recommended it to him.
"It's a great chance to taste good food, and see people from different cultures."
Sophomore Chloe Luetkemeyer, from Hillsboro, Missouri, (pictured below, right) loved it the first time she was at I-Fair. She came back to be part of the excitement again.
"It's just a huge community, and people from Galesburg come over, too. Knox embraces all of these different cultures. It's really cool."