Loyola celebrates its diverse community with International Student Festival

Sophia Maxim

Video story by Chloe Caudle


Students gathered in the Peace Quad on Friday, Oct. 21 to celebrate a mosaic of cultural heritage at Loyola’s International Festival, hosted by the International Student Association.

International students represented their origin countries at decorated tables and prepared traditional food and activities for the Loyola community to enjoy. Some students felt that the international festival was a chance to represent their country despite being far away from home. At the Brazilian booth, Beatriz Domasceno served brigadeiro, a classic dessert popular at children’s parties. Damasceno, originally from Brazil, attends university in the Netherlands but came to Loyola through an exchange program.

“It’s really important that I get to express my identity as a Brazilian person and honor my home country, even though I’m abroad,” Damasceno said. “To see everyone come together – it’s really validating.”

The festival connected and introduced people from shared cultures. For instance, freshman Nicolle Anderson met another Honduran student while eating tomatillos and pupusas at the Honduran booth.

“That was a very happy moment for me because my roommate and I thought we were the only freshmen from Honduras, but I just met someone, so now I have a friend from Honduras,” Anderson said.

South Korean exchange students senior Yoonkyung Lee and junior Yujin Kim felt a calling to represent South Korea as a minority group at Loyola.

“Here, there’s very little Asians, and that’s why I think it’s really important to introduce our countries,” Kim said.

Lee and Kim noticed a lack of Korean food options on campus and wanted to introduce a dish for others to try. At their booth, they served Jumeok-bapa, nicknamed “punch rice,” which is a light home-cooked meal common in Korea.

“It’s called punch rice because it looks like a punch, or like a fist,” Kim said.

Lee and Kim also offered to translate attendees’ names and write them down using the Korean alphabet, Hangul.

Many booths at the festival also provided information about the variety of study-abroad programs offered by Loyola, which allow students the opportunity to experience world cultures firsthand.

Yaniss Mardaoui, a third year exchange student from France, believes the international festival has an important role in promoting cultural appreciation.

“​​I think these kinds of events are really good to show Americans all the other countries and their cultures,” Mardaoui said. “It can help to promote diversity inside the university.”