Wayne State University

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Global Festival and Study Abroad Fair highlight international food, travel

October 1, 2015

The Wayne State community ate its way around the world without leaving campus during the 45th annual Global Festival and Study Abroad Fair in late September.

Gullen Mall was the destination for thousands seeking a taste of an edible showcase prepared and served by the university’s international community.

The Office of International Students and Scholars and Study Abroad organize the annual event, this year celebrating the culture of more than 14 student organizations.

Lines formed early at the food booths and continue to swell throughout the event, especially as students make their way across campus between classes. Serving traditional Pakistani food are Baasit Ashraf (left), Shehla Asghar and Rameez Tasleem.

Sampling fresh figs at the Saudi Student Association booth was Rose Mary Priest from the Department of Biological Sciences graduate program.  She attends the Global Festival every year, stopping by each food booth for a taste and the opportunity to speak with students eager to share their heritage.

“I wouldn’t miss this event,” says Priest. “I love all the food and the conversations.”

The Great Sour Cream Debate raged among staffers arguing the appropriateness of christening the Polish Club’s pierogi with the tasty topping. New Student Orientation Director Katie Kuzmich Rawlings – who claims Russian heritage but is a native of Texas – swears the stuff should never be used on pierogi. Staffers citing Polish heritage and a love of food disagreed loudly, and went searching for more sour cream.

Staffing the Polish Club’s booth were secretary Nicole Beller, whose great-grandparents immigrated from Poland, and treasurer Abby Brzezinski, whose grandparents also came from Poland. The women help found the club and said it was their first year at Global Fest.

“Polish Village and New Palace Bakery donated all the food we are selling today, and we are so grateful,” Brzezinski says. “I was in Hamtramck this morning at 8:30 picking it up.”

So, they didn’t prepare the stuffed cabbage and potato pancakes? “No, but we could have!” Beller declared with pride about her kitchen skills.

Over at the Study Abroad Fair, faculty-led learning opportunities to all corners of the globe were showcased, including new programs in Brazil, Portugal, Spain and New Zealand.

Lisa Kyle, international exchange student coordinator, says the fair highlights the variety of Study Abroad programs ranging in length from a week to a full academic year, and are open to students across majors and years of study.

On hand to share their study abroad experiences were business majors Andrew Zimmerman (center, left) and Alex Medenbach, who also are members of the Warriors football team, and finance and marketing major Sean Koza. The young men studied global supply chain operations in Italy last summer with Assistant Professor Tim Butler of the School of Business.

Each of the study abroad programs, says Kyle, immerses students and faculty in global communities, providing memorable academic and social experiences. Learn more at studyabroad.wayne.edu.