Left to right: Senior Ritah Ogayo, freshman Rachael Kiti, and senior Ann Kooro. Col­legian | Danielle Lee

From the food they served to the clothing they wore, each member of the Inter­na­tional Club proudly rep­re­sented a country at the Cul­tural Fair last Sunday. The event wel­comed stu­dents who wanted to learn more about another country’s her­itage and those who simply wanted to have fun.

“I think it’s really helpful to have people addressing their culture and talk about why they’re at Hillsdale,” freshman Sebrena Geier said.

Senior Nour Ben Hmieida said this fair brought together all the inter­na­tional stu­dents and the diverse cul­tures they came from, as a way to share their back­grounds with the student body. The fair was last held in 2016, but with the increased amount of financial support and members, the club was able to pull this event off, Ben Hmieida said.

“We’ve been trying to build the inter­na­tional com­munity again and this event helps with that,” she said.

Each table rep­re­sented two coun­tries and each country was managed by either inter­na­tional stu­dents or stu­dents who come from immi­grant parents.

Junior Genesis Arreola said attaching a friendly face to each culture helps invite stu­dents to learn more about a culture they don’t know about, espe­cially when it’s one of their class­mates.

“This event helps make the inter­na­tional stu­dents feel com­fortable sharing their culture with stu­dents here,” Arreola said.

Ben Hmieida rep­re­sented her home country, Libya, and pro­vided handouts regarding Libya’s history and culture, and sam­plings of dates and olives, ingre­dients that are com­monly used in Libyan dishes, and also eaten by them­selves.

“We use them a lot in Libya in dif­ferent dishes, but I didn’t have time to make the actual dishes, so I thought I would bring parts of it to share,” Ben Hmieida said.

Taking pride in her ancestry, Arreola rep­re­sented Mexico by wearing a tra­di­tional Mexican dress and dis­playing com­monly-used Mexican kitchen tools that most Amer­icans are not familiar with, such as mol­cajete — a stone bowl used to make salsa with a matching stone grinder — and a tor­tilla press.

She also served gelatin-based desserts and rec­tan­gular coconut candies, both dyed to rep­resent Mexico’s flag.

“A lot of our desserts are gelatin-based while most of our candies are very bright and fruit-fla­vored. I also have aguas fresca, which are very popular drinks in the summer, they’re similar to juices but a little more water-based. And I also have hor­chata, which is the iconic rice water,” she said.

Arreola said a lot of stu­dents don’t realize how diverse Hillsdale is. Many stu­dents come from varying back­grounds, and this event raises that awareness, while helping the inter­na­tional stu­dents feel more com­fortable talking about their her­itage as well.

“I come from a really diverse back­ground, so coming to Hillsdale was a bit of a culture shock. But the Inter­na­tional Club really helped me because I could share my culture and people were very inter­ested in it, and I could learn about all these dif­ferent cul­tures as well,” Arreola said. “The club is very much a family.”