Monday, November 12, 2012

UIS celebrates cultural diversity during 35th annual International Student Festival

The University of Illinois Springfield celebrated its rich international and cultural diversity with an evening of exhibits, artistic performances, food tasting, and more on November 9, 2012.

It was all part of the 35th annual International Student Festival, the longest running student initiated festival on campus.

“It is incredibly important to have a festival like this to increase cultural awareness,” said Elizabeth Richardson, graduate assistant for the UIS Office of International Student Services. “We have a lot of different people living here in America and it’s really great to understand all of these different cultures.”

The festival was not only open to students, faculty, and staff, but members of the Springfield community, who came to enjoy the traditional festival. International students also enjoyed sharing their culture and learning about others.

“I’m so happy because we can introduce our cultures to the UIS community and the public you know, everyone can come,” said Zehra Ozkan Shahidi, a senior UIS international student from Turkey.

Zhe Chen, a UIS junior from China, came to the festival for many reasons, including the food. However, it is the fellowship that he will remember most.

“I (came) here to meet people outside of my race,” said Chen. “I want to be diverse as much as possible. It’s great.”

For more information on services for International Students and programs, please visit

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