Food has and always will be something to share and talk about. I mean, we’re human and we’ve gotta eat, right? But there’s more to food than that. Food is a reason to gather with our friends and family. Food is also something that is nostalgic, whether from our childhood, special occasions or cool places we’ve visited. For many of us, food reminds us of home and our community.
We all have experienced the feeling of being away on a trip and just wanting to get back to a good old-fashioned, home-cooked meal. Our international students on Ouachita’s campus feel exactly the same way, but they cannot simply go home for a weekend if they are missing home.
Ouachita’s dining and catering service, Sodexo, works with the Grant Center for International Education to make Ouachita’s campus feel a little more like home for our international students. Sodexo dedicates a day, typically about once a month, to spotlight a Ouachita international student and cook a meal of their choosing from their homeland. This meal is then served in the International Line in the Ouachita Commons (aka “the Caf”). The international student can then enjoy this meal at lunch and share it with friends who may be curious about what food from their homeland is like.
As part of this initiative, we also like to introduce the student to the student body and what the meal means to them by displaying a board in front of the International Line. On this board, we post a short paragraph in which the featured student is introduced , another about how the dish originated and another about what the dish means to the student. We also share the ingredients and a QR code to the recipe. This allows the Ouachita student body to see what is in the dish and potentially make it at home if they really like it.
Since Ouachita has about 60 international and third culture students enrolled, this gives us plenty of recipes and new foods that we can try each month! Our international students love to share this part of their lives with the Ouachita community and also experience the foods of their fellow international friends.
Some of the dishes we have presented in the past have showcased such countries as Brazil, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore and South Africa, among others. This means we have displayed foods from east to west, spotlighting the rich diversity our campus has to offer.
We don’t plan on slowing down or stopping anytime soon either! This semester we already have showcased Kenya and plan to showcase Iraq, Portugal, Uruguay and Zambia. This will once again allow us to share foods from across the planet with our student body and allow our newer international students to feel like campus is not so far from home.
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