International nursing students serve up fun, fellowship at potluck

Allison Bray

The food was as varied as the faces and the sounds of laughter trickled into the hallway of Henderson Hall last night at the potluck for international nursing students.

In addition to the American fare of apple pie and cheesecake, Asian cuisine was also available for those in attendance.

This is the second year for the potluck, which is held each semester, said Ruth Ludwick, Director in the Office of International Activities and professor in the College of Nursing.

The potluck is a “way to bring students together and faculty together. It’s been good fun and good fellowship,” Ludwick said.

One student even delayed his trip back home to Taiwan in order to attend the event, she said.

After everyone in attendance introduced themselves, Ludwick thanked all of the staff of the College of Nursing.

“I don’t think we could do what we do (without them),” she said.

Out of about 1,000 nursing students, there are about 14 international students in the program, Ludwick said.

Prudencia Mweemba, of Zambia, attended the potluck for the third time.

“It’s good to come and meet people in a more relaxed way,” she said.

Mweemba said she is working toward her doctorate degree, and has enjoyed her time at Kent State.

“It’s a wonderful experience,” she said. “People are friendly and willing to help.”

Sapana Bhattarai, of Nepal, is in her second year at Kent State. Bhattarai said the potluck is a good way to learn about different customs. Although all the students in attendance are international, they all bring their own unique cultures, she said.

Thailand native Suchawadee Yimmee is a doctorate student who came to Kent State in 2003. While international students usually know the faculty, she said, the potluck is a good way to meet other international students and also introduce their own cultures and food to the faculty.

In addition to working on her dissertation, Yimmee is also a graduate assistant. She said that being an assistant makes it easy for her to help other international students overcome barriers she has experienced.

Yimmee said a big barrier is language. Even though international students speak English, it’s sometimes hard for others to understand their accents. By being a graduate assistant, she can help other students improve their speaking and writing, as faculty helped her improve, she said.

“I can encourage them,” she added.

Laura Dzurec, dean of the College of Nursing, also attended the potluck. She thinks international students may choose to attend Kent State because of its academic record.

“I think we have very strong programs,” she said.

“It’s a wonderful gift – I think that’s the best way to put it,” Dzurec said, watching the students and faculty interact. “Our people have a good time.”

Contact health and medical reporter Allison Bray at [email protected].