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Saturday, Dec 20, 2014

Overcast, 30 °F

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International Dinner

Senior Eileen Lo sings at the International Dinner in Baker Center Ballroom

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

International Dinner

Camila LeMaster talks to Nilesh Shah, first year graduate student, at the International Dinner

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

International Dinner

Michael Ofori (left), a second year graduate student, and Kombe Kapatamoyo, dance at the International Dinner in Baker University Ballroom

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

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International Dinner brings students and community together


The kitchen of Jefferson Dining Hall was full of aromas: chicken roasting on the grills, pies being taken out of the ovens. Students from Ghana were busy preparing spring rolls while a group of Indian students melted butter – all in preparation for the International Dinner.

Held Saturday in Baker University Center Ballroom, the annual International Dinner celebrates the diversity of Ohio University by bringing together different student organizations for a meal. Although the volunteer student chefs may be from opposite sides of the world, one characteristic never fails to translate: the cultural importance of food. Saturday's menu featured 24 different meals submitted by more than 20 student organizations.

Before guests could tuck into Jamaican chicken and Japanese miso soup, they were treated to dance and drumming performances by the Indian Student Association and the African Student Union (ASU).

Though the dinner provides an excellent opportunity for American students to be introduced to other cultures, it also helps international students bond during their stay in a foreign country.

"It's a way for international students to get together," Yaa Asabere, a member of the ASU from Ghana said. "When we come here [Athens], it's kind of hard, because we're away from family. So we're kind of each other's family in a way."

This was Asabre's second year with the International Student Union, but her first time in aiding in event preparation. After attending multiple ISU events last year, she discovered she wanted to get more involved.

"I think the ISU has very interesting events and I just wanted to know what goes on behind the scenes," Asabere stated. "I also wanted some experience with event planning."

For Kingsley Antwi-Boasiako, president of ASU, the dinner also provided a chance to experience other cultures without having to leave the University.

"In the kitchens we have people from various parts of the world here and getting to know each other," Antwi said. "And at the main event you get to taste the different foods from various parts of the world. So you may not have gone there, but you get the chance to taste food from different places."

Camila LeMaster, interim president of the ISU, viewed the dinner as a chance for the different student organizations to interact.

"The majority of the members of ISU are international students, and normally the international community stays together. This is a really good way to work with other student organizations that we see at the general student body meetings," LeMaster said. "You see so many regions of the world and so many countries represented in one night. You see the diversity of this campus and how we can all collaborate and work together."