By EVA FREEMAN
Every year Claflin University becomes home to thousands of students, some of whom travel farther than others to get to Orangeburg.
Claflin is currently home to 68 international students representing 18 countries.
Students come from Austria, Barbados, Bangladesh, Brazil, the Bahamas, Canada, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Nepal, Sweden, Trinidad, Taiwan and Vietnam.
While Claflin does not have a specific international “recruitment program,” enrollment from abroad is growing with recommendations from students currently at Claflin.
From Nov. 18-22, Claflin celebrated its international ties with International Week, which began with South Asian cuisine in the cafeteria and a talent show in GTK auditorium. The talent show allowed students from the various countries to showcase their native dances and songs.
Nov. 20 featured African cuisine and a fashion show, which showcased students wearing their home attire while being so far from home.
International Week closed out with Caribbean food and dance night, which allowed students from Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados and the Bahamas to teach their classmates how to “wine” and “vibe” together.
“The International Week is an annual occasion where the international students get to display their different cultures and express the rich diversity that Claflin University possesses. The purpose of this week is for international students and even faculty and staff to educate their peers on the unique cultures and rich heritage from their countries,” said Dominic Bett, president of the International Students Association and a sophomore from Kenya.
“This is the one time of the year that I always look forward to with excitement. It feels great to eat exotic food and to learn new things about someone from another part of the world. It makes the world seem smaller,” Bett said.
“I feel wonderful to be a part of ISA week. We had an awesome experience to cook Nepali food for the students at Claflin. It was an amazing experience to model in the international student fashion show where I put on my national dress to represent Nepal,” said Shankar Prajapati, a sophomore.
“International Week is a time to recognize different cultures on campus, an occasion to celebrate the diversity at Claflin University. I think it is a great opportunity for us international students to exhibit our heritage and for the American students to somewhat experience the world right here in Orangeburg,” said Trang Do, junior from Vietnam.
“International Week has been special for me. I could live my culture even staying 10,000 miles away from home,” said Asfar Rashid, sophomore from Bangladesh.
“This is the week that we as international students from different parts of the world get the opportunity to not only showcase our culture but also learn other cultures in depth. It is therefore one of the times in the year that we enjoy the cohesiveness amongst ourselves and the rich diversity we have,” said Daniel Buretto, sophomore from Kenya.