Students explore world cultures through Global Village

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By Susan Meyer | Photos by Hung Tran
See more photos from the open house

Scotland, Australia, Singapore, Japan and Brazil were some of the countries that were presented at the Global Village open house on Oct. 16, 2011.

Plenty of multicultural fun was had as students living in the Global Village set up multiple booths around the 8th floor of Mayflower, each one showcasing a different country. Each booth had samples of food from the chosen country along with other cultural artifacts.

The Singapore booth featured a snack commonly found in coffee shops, toasted bread topped with margarine and pork floss and drizzled with sweetened condensed milk for a salty-sweet taste. Orchids were part of the display, as they are the national flower of Singapore. The female student presenting this booth also had a colorful uniform that a flight attendant for Singapore Air would wear. They only hire female models for the job.

Brazil had decadent, cookie-dough like balls of chocolate that are popular with kids in that country. They disappeared fast.

Australia had delicious, home-made cheese crisps and puffs, accompanied by an inflatable palm tree with koala bears in it. Nutella was substituted for the famous Australian spread Vegemite, as it is expensive to buy in Iowa.

The Global Village Living-Learning Community (LLC) is a multicultural community of University of Iowa students aspiring to learn about world issues and meet new people with the same interests.

Global Village occupies one hallway on the 8th floor of Mayflower dormitory. There are 70 spots available for any first year, transfer or returning student wishing to be a part of this LLC.

The International Crossroads Community, the oldest LLC on the University of Iowa campus, and the Hispanic Language and Cultures community recently combined to form the Global Village.

Denise Filios, a faculty liaison to Global Village and associate professor in the UI Department of Spanish and Portuguese, said it’s advantageous for students to be a part of the Global Village because it is a multilingual, multicultural community.

“They can speak languages in addition to English, share their home cultures with each other, and get to know international and domestic students in an open and welcoming setting,” Filios said.

According to the UI undergraduate admissions website, students in Global Village are required to take at least one course in common with each other.

Students interested in international crossroads take a class called “Cool Places and Hot Spots,” taught this semester by Anna Barker. Students in this class explore different cultures and customs around the world, discuss specific global issues, and attend international celebrations, film screenings and other arts events.

Students interested in Hispanic language and cultures take a class called “Music, Food and Salsa: Exploring Latino Culture.” The class may attend cultural celebrations, visit Latino resources on campus, meet Latino student leaders and faculty from the Spanish department, and learn about study abroad and careers involving Spanish-language skills.

All students will also participate in activities such as celebrating international holidays, cooking international foods, and attending various cultural events around the University as well as the Iowa City community.

“What’s wonderful is that, by exploring the world, they actually come to understand themselves and their home environment a little better,” said Joan Kjaer, a staff liaison to Global Village.

Kjaer said it was truly inspiring to see how much energy the new group of students for academic year 2011-12 had from the very first day.

It is the goal of Global Village, like many other LLCs, to enhance the transition to college life in Iowa City by being part of a community that helps develop communication and leadership skills through participating in activities that connect the classroom to the living environment.

The University believes that LLCs are very important to the student experience. The 2010-2016 strategic plan for the University of Iowa states that pairing classroom learning with hands-on, multicultural experiences highlighting leadership and service has a positive effect on the student experience.

It is hoped that Global Village will be expanded in the future in order to incorporate more students, and the University Housing Department wants to add more interest areas to this LLC.

To find out more about Global Village, visit the Living-Learning Communities website, http://fye.uiowa.edu/admitted-now-what/living-learning-communities/global-village.

Susan Meyer is a UI senior majoring in international studies and English.

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