By Desiree Datil
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – After taking a long hiatus, International Day has returned for the second year in a row, and it struck with a vengeance. This year, 25 countries were represented in a showcase of cultural and ethnic table displays, and the Camden County College community welcomed them with open arms and minds.
On April 19, the International Club conquered its goal of presenting the largest International Day celebration to date. Between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., the Camden County College Connector Building was bustling with more than 250 students and faculty who were interested in learning about and celebrating other cultures.
Each country had its designated area with decorated display boards as well as traditional items from the students’ native countries. It was evident that each student worked hard to make sure that their country was respectfully and properly represented as each area oozed with ethnic pride. No two areas were alike, although many students did have music, pictures and items used in everyday American life on display. Many students also chose to offer recipes of their traditional foods, such as the beef patties that are a staple food item in Jamaican meals. When offered the recipe, student Lauren Smith exclaimed, “Oh yes! I NEED to have one of these!”
Besides the informational stands, there were captivating performances, most notably the Thai drum performance and a song performed by one student in her native Belarusian tongue.
Emily Fisher, a second-year student at Camden County College, admitted that despite her Jamaican background, her favorite displays were the China and India displays. Fisher added that the atmosphere in the Connector Building motivated her to participate in future events of this nature. “Next year, I will definitely participate and represent Jamaica. I have to,” Fisher said.
Although International Day was centered on cultural differences, there was a sense of unity throughout the Connector Building. Students and faculty from all different backgrounds were coming together to celebrate and appreciate one another. International Day was so important to one student, Rosie, that although she has graduated and moved on from Camden County College, she still made it her priority to return and educate the community on the day of the event.
Paulina Kruszewski, president of the International Club, was running around busy as a bee during the day’s festivities, making sure that everything ran smoothly, but as she sat back and watched the performances, her face glowed with pride and happiness. Although she was exhausted, she noted, “It was an honor to be a part of this event. I’m so happy!”