Second International Homecoming features festivities and culture

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093016 International HC

McKenna Corson

With 20 represented countries showcasing their cultures, Kent State’s second International Homecoming on Friday night provided a worldly feel to an originally American celebration.

The event, which started at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom and was filled with food, music and performances.

International Homecoming started with students, families and alumni signing in and receiving a “passport” that would be marked with a stamp at each country’s table to get free food.

Eron Memaj, director of international student affairs and creator of International Homecoming, had the idea for the event for a long time.

“International students are not very familiar with the homecoming concept,” Memaj said. “This is a way to introduce them to homecoming festivities, while at the same time introducing and showcasing their cultures with the rest of the community.”

Food from some of the countries was served, and people milled about and visited tables representing other countries.

Katarina Smiley, a sophomore public health major, attended International Homecoming to support an international friend. She saw the importance of international students and learning about other cultures.

“People think of international students as just international students, not that they have a background,” Smiley said .

Grant Wang, a junior visual communication design major, also stressed the importance of leaning about other cultures.

“There’s a lot to learn from international students, including their beliefs, mindsets and cultures,” Wang said. “(They) help open our nation’s eyes.”

After people ate and walked around the countries’ tables, performances started. They ranged from a Honduran traditional dance to an American beat boxer and an Omani comedy show.

Hesham Alamri, a junior aeronautics studies major and president of the Saudi Arabia club, attended International Homecoming to help the Saudi Arabia table and see other cultures.

“The media shows what people can’t see,” Alamri said. “The best way to truly show a country is by having this event. This is a place where you can show your country and culture, and have your voice heard.”

Instead of having only international students celebrate their country, Memaj wanted to create International Homecoming to include every culture.

“The word international means in ‘between nations,’ so when we have International Homecoming, it will also have the U.S. represented,” Memaj said. “It is a misconception that International Homecoming is just for international students.

” It’s for all students. We all came from somewhere,” he said. “The purpose of International Homecoming is to have an international celebration and get all cultures and all nations together, including the U.S.”

International Homecoming will continue into the future according to Memaj.

Contact McKenna Corson at [email protected]