Global Citizenship Festival highlights International Education Week

With over 3000 international students, studying at Santa Monica College, classes buzz with thick accents and different languages. With its 11th annual International Education Week, SMC is celebrating its diversity with events, such as foreign movie screenings, music, dance and food from all around the world throughout the week.

Colorful costumes - from figure-hugging burgundy dresses, to ripped shirts and tank tops, shown during a hip-hop performance, transformed the campus quad into a party as a part of the Global Citizenship Day Festival.

The SMC Dance Department’s Global Motion took the stage with a variety of dances, rooted in different cultures, giving students, who quickly crowded the small stage, a performance that left students cheering and applauding,

”I am very proud of our students; they just get better and better and they learn more than dance steps.

They have to study the culture, the geography, the history, climate and politics, that all affect the dance,” said Judith Douglas, Chair of the Dance Department and founded the program back in 1974.

While students were clapping along to the rhythm of a traditional Irish dance, others were able to explore the different booths behind them, offering a variety of free food and giveaways.

Checking out the Student Travel Agency booth, Lauren Bustamante, a 21 year-old Chicago native and business major, met her Italian born boyfriend during an internship through SMC in Florida last semester. Bustamante was looking into travel/study abroad options for next semester while recalling her previous one.

“Every two weeks, we would go to an international party, where you would hear so many different languages, and then so much broken English. It was amazing! Eight of my friends already came to visit me, and four of them applied to SMC as international students: two from Italy, one from France and one from China,” Bustamante said.

The International Education center’s stand gave away free cookies and sweets - French madeleines, Danish biscuits and German gingerbread. Students ate and learned of their dessert’s origin by reading the tags next to the platters.

To further geographic knowledge, students could participate in quizzes at the ESL and Global Citizenship Council’s table. Right answers were good for a food ticket - redeemable for EAT Street’s potato rolls and iced watermelon juice.

Johannes Westen, a 26-year-old business major from Sweden, who was helping out at the International Education Center’s booth, talked about cultural differences. Most surprisingly for him was the fact of “People wearing shoes indoors[when visiting]. I don’t get it. It’s ridiculous!”

Rounding out International Education Week was a Global Connections Series lecture with Kenneth Turan speaking on the impact of foreign films in the global community.