Fontbonne University might seem like a small place, but there are more than 27 countries represented in the student body! However, it may be difficult to realize this because we are scattered along the different majors and programs that Fontbonne offers.
The International Bazaar on the 18th of November was the perfect event to showcase the diversity from international students that have made Fontbonne their home.
Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, Congo, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Bangladesh, United States and Saudi Arabia each country with their own table and the best part: they all had food to share!
The environment was hectic but a lot of fun, people were going from table to table getting to know students and trying out the different dishes. It was hard to try out all the food! But given that most of the tables run out of their dishes I would say that they were a success.
The best part of the afternoon was when the Brazilian band started playing and two traditional Brazilian dancers came out in full costume dancing! It was the perfect ending for an event that was filled with fun, sharing and great food.
If you missed the International Bazaar this year, then mark it in your calendar for next year! It is an amazing event that will broaden your knowledge about all the other cultures that are part of Fontbonne.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Tran, Yasser Alotaibi and Fontbonne University.
If I’ve learned one thing this year at Fontbonne, it’s cultural competence. Cultural competence is one of the greatest qualities you can acquire to further your acceptance of the people and cultures around you. There are may ways to “culture” yourself… Books, forming new friendships & acquaintances and even trying the food of a culture you’ve never tried before. In my class, Food Pathways of Diverse Cultures, we dive into recipes from places like the Middle East, the Americas, India and Africa. It’s truly amazing what happens when you are exposed to traditional foods from cultures other than your own. I am realizing how much culture is out there that I have yet to experience. This is an exciting realization for me, because I am passionate about lifelong learning.
The more we learn about cultures and belief systems outside our own bubble, the more likely we are to whole heartedly accept the diverse population we live in. Sometimes we see the world through a narrow scope, but there is more to see than anyone can even imagine. If you feel your view may be narrow, try widening it just a smidge, and open up to something you’ve never experienced before I promise you won’t regret it!
If you are a commuter student at Fontbonne who cannot afford a parking pass, like me, there is a key component to your day to day experience that most residential students do not get the pleasure of experiencing: commuter bus rides. Now, it does depend on the time of day that you get to see the widest array of backgrounds on the bus. However, it only takes three steps up the bus’ stairs to gaze into the eyes of Fontbonne’s diversity. On an average ride from the commuter lot on Clayton Road to Fontbonne’s campus around 9 a.m. on an average Tuesday morning, I am only a few feet away from:
one international student from Beijing, China
three from Saudi Arabia
one from Iraq
a couple of grad students
a basketball player
a soccer player
a baseball player who I most likely would never get close enough to smell had I not taken the bus and sat next to
a softball player
a professor, and
a bearded, non traditional student clearly practicing a speech of some sort.
These are people I would see as I cautiously cross the yellow sidewalks of Fontbonne on any given day. There, the cowardly lion inside begs me not to open my mouth asking their name, or what their day requires of them. But when I am on that 4 wheeled diesel, I cannot help but open my mouth to discover those things. As I walk up those stairs, I have on my red, glittery slippers. I take a seat. I’m inquisitive as I remember that the clock is ticking before the Wizard parks the bus in front of Ryan Hall.
Typically I open a conversation with a joke or a compliment. One particular instance I started an exchange with a baseball player when we both chuckled from witnessing a poor woman in a car beside us spilling food on her blouse. I later came to find out that we knew a few of the same people from high school. On another occasion I offered an international student a ride back to Cotta Hall when it was raining so she would not have to walk home without an umbrella. We ended up swapping phone numbers, and are currently still friends. These are just a couple examples of what can happen on a commuter bus without the walls of the academic buildings limiting the probability of meeting new people.
I am beyond thankful that I attend to a school with such a welcoming and diverse atmosphere. I used to never think there were perks to being a low income student, but when I am on that bus, the culture and the opportunity to learn as much as I can in seven minutes about someone new, is worth more than buying a parking pass.
Hello FBU! One thing that is great about Fontbonne is its extreme value for diversity. In honor of Diversity Week, I enjoyed going to the interfaith panel held in the AMC hall. I can truly appreciate and respect that we all have different beliefs, cultures, and faiths. It is so important to have an open mind about other religions. I may not agree with their dogmas, beliefs, or rituals but I can understand the passion of having a connection with a higher power. I also learned of a religion that I had never heard of before; Baha’i. I can’t really explain it but it started about a century and half ago. I will be looking it up just to get a better understanding of it. Of course, this panel was facilitated by the religions instructor, Mr. Steve Stopke. I have said it before in another post, but he is definitely a great teacher in his field, and he is part of the reason why I have a fascination about other religions besides my own (Christianity). I hope you all get a chance to experience something different or out of your comfort zone this week, because you will be glad that you did. Check out the weekly e-mails about the events and activities that FBU has going on each week, and find a way to partake in them. Have great, diverse week FBU community!