BC hosts International Week

Maryann Kopp

Bakersfield College’s Intercultural Student Association held its first ever International Week on campus the week of Nov. 17.
The days were each divided among different cultures. Monday was Africa, Tuesday was Asia, Wednesday was Latin America and Thursday was Yemen.
Each day featured cultural films, speakers, dancers, exhibits and free henna tattoos, all varying from day to day. Events took place in and around the BC Fireside Room.
The area was decorated with flags from all around the world and vendors selling cultural items like ponchos, bags and jewelry set up in front of the campus center. In front of the Fireside Room, there was a board that read, “Thank you, BC, for hosting international students” with a world map drawn on it.
Intercultural Student Association member John Dickerson stood in front of the board with several markers, encouraging people to stop and put names on the spot where their families originated. Dickerson said, “This is the first year BC is doing this, but it’s actually a nationwide event.”
Inside the Fireside Room, several “world artifacts” were on display from places like Iran, Ethiopia, Native America and Yemen.
Free henna tattoos were given to students or anyone else who was interested in the Fireside Room as well. The artist present wore a backpack and did some of the work while standing. A fairly elaborate hand design took about 10 minutes to complete.
Emnet Habebo, the president for the Intercultural Student Association, said the event started with her and the adviser to the club getting together to allot the days to different cultures.
“We decided on a theme and wanted to hold the event to encourage students to study abroad,” Habebo said. “We want to motivate students to learn more not only about culture here in Bakersfield but abroad as well.”
The purpose of the Intercultural Students Association, according to Habebo, is to help international students feel more comfortable in their environment while attending BC. They also aim at creating a support system between local students and international students.
Due to the overall success of the event, the association plans on doing International Week again next year. They also have plans to improve upon some of their activities.
“The board where the students signed their origins has been very successful,” said Habebo. “It has shown students that there are other people that come from the same place. Next year, we plan to make it so that people who sign the board and are from the same area can contact each other if they’re interested.”
One thing that could improve next year’s turnout, according to Habebo, would be the faculty to help inform the students of the activities “especially the speakers.”