International students and their friends celebrated Easter with a potluck meal on 17 April. The afternoon was spent cooking and sharing a variety of unique foods in one of UIC’s food labs. Rather than focusing on one traditional Easter meal, the students took the opportunity to share meals and traditions from their own cultures in order to give this event a truly international in flavour.

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Students cooking dishes from their own countries

Like many holidays around the world, Easter is often celebrated with a meal between family and friends. Other traditions include Easter egg dyeing, Easter egg hunts, and eating lots of candy, given out in traditional Easter baskets.

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There is a mixture of international students as well as local students

Hendrix College exchange student, Bailey Brya, commented, “The food event was a fun opportunity to hang out with other international students and share our own cultures and traditions. I tried new foods, ate some comforts from home like blueberry pancakes, and got to share the American tradition of dyeing Easter eggs. Food is a big part of holidays in my family, so I loved the cultural and social exchange of the event!”

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Different dishes from all over the world being prepared

One of the most difficult aspects of studying in a foreign country is missing holidays. With events like this, international students can get a taste of home under a new cultural lens, all while making memories with new friends.

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Year 2 CST student, Tao Ziqin, learned a lot about different foods from different cultures at this event. She was surprised to see many international students cooking together, and she saw many dishes that she had never eaten before. Ziqin noted, “It feels like a big family; the members come from different countries and they share their feelings about the food.”

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The International Development Office hopes that events like these can help form long lasting connections between international students and Chinese students. French native and Lille Catholic University exchange student, Vincent Plancher, shared traditional French crepes filled with chocolate hazelnut spread.

Concordia University exchange students, Christina Xiong and Pang Thao, made a Thai style noodle dish with spicy pepper sauce. Full time degree seeking student from Venezuela, Celeste Bottini, made traditional Venezuelan Arepas, which is a type of fried dough.

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Students enjoying this Easter event

English Language Centre (ELC) Foreign Intern and International Student Club President, Jamie Siemsen, made American style blueberry pancakes. Degree-seeking international student from South Korea, Bae Sojung, whipped up kimchi fried rice and two types of beef bulgogi.

US native and Hendrix College exchange student, Bailey Brya, and Georgia Southern University exchange student, Megan Prangley from the US, created their own recipes for natural egg dye and spent the afternoon dying hard boiled eggs, a classic Easter tradition.

Reporter: Jamie Siemsen
Photographs supplied by IDO
Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He, Étienne Fermie (MPRO)
(from IDO)