Culturefest Brings Diversity to Pace


Adiba Sikder

Culturefest booths

Pace students celebrated and learned about different cultures during Culturefest at the Kessel Student Center this past Thursday.

Culturefest is a part of Pace’s annual International Education week, which was created in order to educate students about the study abroad opportunities, different cultures, and about the International Buddies program.

“The International Buddies program was made to make international students more comfortable entering Pace,” said Garfield Benjamin, an International Student Advisor. “Coming to a new country and a new school can be very scary.”

Many students at the event were encouraged to be a buddy and they were asked to recall how scary their first time at Pace was and how much scarier it must be for students coming to a new country for the first time to study.

Several international students recalled their first time coming to Pace and how the international buddies program made them feel more comfortable.

“I came from China six months ago. I have a buddy who helped show me where my classes are,” said Long Yuan Chu, a junior and international student. “Everyone is very friendly and always says hello when I see them. It’s nice.”

Other international students that weren’t a part of the international buddies program believe that faculty members played a huge part in making Pace their home.

“The first time I came here I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to do or where to go, I was so lost,” said Harshini Rajkumar, sophomore and international student. “John Reinhardt really helped me and directed me on where everything is. I learned that it’s so important to ask for help even if they sound like stupid questions when I’m nervous.”

During the event, there were several sections set up for students to participate in, including a food station, a study-abroad informational booth, an origami station, and a language station.

The most popular section during the event was the language station. Students were taught how to say hello and write their names in different languages by international students.

“I love learning about new cultures. Pace is so diverse but we don’t have enough cultural activities like this in my opinion,” said TJ Combs, a senior. “I joined OLAS for a little bit but it had very stereotypical events,”

Once students mastered saying hello and writing their names out, they were taught common sentences such as “how are you” and “I’m sorry”.

Students at the language station spent most of their time socializing with the international students after they were done with the exercise and were more interested in learning jokes in a different language and about their countries.

“Events like this really help bring students of different cultures together. It’s so important for college students to be exposed to diversity and soak in something different from themselves,” said Benjamin.