UA students to share culture, language at CESL International Festival

Janice Biancavilla | Daily Wildcat

Janice Biancavilla/ Daily Wildcat

Students from the Center of English as a Second Language gather on the mall on Thursday during the International Festival which represented and celebrated cultures of more than 30 countries.

The annual International Festival will be held on the UA Mall this week.

The festival, hosted by students from the Center for English as a Second Language, will take place Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will include many activities to engage attendees. The event is meant to help the students practice their English by interacting with the public and sharing aspects of their own cultures.

“It’s just a fun day to educate other students about other cultures,” said Kathleen Hertenstein, the CESL student activities coordinator and a graduate student in language, reading and culture. “It breaks down barriers and stereotypes and is just a great way to network and meet other people.”

Interactive activities will include learning a few, basic words in other languages, answering questions attendees may have about cultures, playing games such as bingo, guessing games and even a Japanese game requiring players to pick peanuts up with chopsticks. Traditional dress will be worn and traditional dances will be performed for attendees to watch later in the afternoon.

About 30 countries will be represented by more than 300 transfer students. Eight groups will be representing China alone.

“We don’t care if we make mistakes, we just want to do our best,” said Na Wei, a transfer student studying finance.

Wei transferred to the UA this semester and said she is very excited for the festival because she is proud to contribute to her country by sharing its culture with the public.

While CESL students have been working on the preparations for this festival for several months, they have only been working on projects and decorations for the event this past month. The event is primarily student run, with only minimal faculty supervision.

“I’m so happy to do this because I’m part of China, I’m Chinese people,” said Elaine Liu, a transfer student studying marketing.

Liu has been attending the UA since August and said she is looking forward to participating in the event.

“The really exciting thing is that we can wear our traditional clothing and introduce our culture,” Liu said. “This is really important.”

Hertenstein said working with the students is an amazing experience and that she thinks people attending the event will feel the same way once they’ve experienced it as well.

“It’s the best job I’ve ever had in my life,” Hertenstein said. “They are so happy and excited to share their culture and meet people. They are so much fun to work with, I love it.”

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