MSU Celebrates International Students with Global Festival

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To travel around the world, all you had to do Sunday was take a lap around Brody Square in East Lansing.

The Office of International Students and Scholars at Michigan State University put on its annual Global festival, showcasing the diversity of its student body.

"We have students from so many countries and so many cultures here at MSU and they don't always get a chance to share about where they're from," said Joy Walter, who works in the international office. "International students put in so much time learning English and learning American culture but this is our opportunity to embrace and learn about theirs."

Culture was on full display Sunday. Colorful clothing dotted the halls as kids and adults alike made the rounds, stopping at tables to learn more about each country.

"Finding out about a country you may never get to visit from someone that's from there, it's so much more real than reading online or reading in a book or seeing on TV even," said Walter. "You're hearing from them: what's the best part of their country?"

People carried passports from table to table. Each time they talked to someone from a different country, they got a signature in their passport.

"I think it's really great to expose them to different cultures," said Bekah Zorgdrager, a Lansing resident who brought two of her children with her. "I think it's just great when they can have the opportunity to interact with people and take an interest in things outside themselves."

A report from the Institute of International Education ranked MSU ninth in the country in terms of foreign students enrolled. MSU welcomed 6,759 international students to campus in 2012-2013.

The festival is part of International Education week on campus, which international students say benefits them as much as it benefits the community.

"People start living in their own bubble coming from different countries, they stick to their own groups," said Rajeeth Dev Anand, president of MSU's International Students Association. "Global Festival is a way for all of them to share their culture, share their background, share their history to both international students and domestic students."

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