The University of Iowa

Global Village open house lets students experience other cultures

October 18th, 2011

By Lee Hermiston, Iowa City Press-Citizen

University of Iowa freshman Charlene Woolson had no trouble deciding which country to showcase during the Global Village open house in Mayflower residence hall Sunday night.

“I love everything that is Japanese culture,” said Woolson, 18. “I love Japan, and I’ve been there. It makes the choice a little easier.”

What was harder was explaining the Japanese dish Woolson made for the open house. Her dish, strawberry daifuku was strawberries covered in sweet red bean paste, which is in turn covered in mochi — a dough made with rice flour and sugar.

“It’s really sticky,” Woolson said of her dish. “I thought it would be easy and simple (to make). I didn’t anticipate the mess.”

Japan and other countries such as Brazil, China, Mexico and Singapore were on display during the Global Village’s open house. The Global Village is a multilingual and multicultural living-learning community that takes up Mayflower’s eighth floor. The Global Village, a spin-off of the university’s International Crossroads Community, is in its first year.

“The idea behind it is to be a community for freshmen to get integrated into campus,” said Kim Tranel, a graduate assistant in the International Studies program.

“It’s a brand new experience every time you meet somebody from a different country.”

Tranel said the students, who are primarily American, typically are united in a common interest in studying linguistics, international studies or international business. Students in the living-learning community have access to programming and faculty who are doing research or studies in international fields.

“The end goal is to create a community so students are involved on campus,” Tranel said. “Give students a sense of community.”

As part of the open house, students were asked to pick a country based on their ancestry, traveling experience or interest, make a display and also make a traditional dish to share.

“I made chili to represent the U.S.,” Tranel said.

UI sophomore Curtis Goos said he and his roommate chose Scotland partially because of his heritage and because his roommate has traveled there. Goos said living in the Global Village was a “great experience.”

“It’s a brand new experience every time you meet somebody from a different country,” he said.

As a student interested in international studies and international business, Goos said it has been beneficial to meet other students with similar interests.

“I’ve always been fascinated by that field,” he said.

As for their dish, Goos said he and his roommate made scones at his roommate’s insistence.

“He cooks,” Goos said. “I complied.”