A young woman is serving food at the International Festival at SIU

January 23, 2024

Everyone welcome to join SIU’s International Festival Feb. 5-9

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — International Festival 2024 is coming to Southern Illinois University Carbondale Feb. 5-9, and a variety of special programs and activities will bring together the campus and community in “Promoting Diversity Through Unity.”

The weeklong fest traditionally draws large crowds from campus and the surrounding community, and all events are open to the public.

“The International Festival has been one of the highlights of the year at SIU for more than half a century as we celebrate the unique diversity that our international students, faculty and staff bring to campus and Southern Illinois,” said Sean Cooney, assistant director of student engagement and programming. “As this year’s theme notes, we come together to promote diversity through unity and through the different events, we celebrate the cultures of SIU and build bridges between people, showing how much we have in common. The Center for International Education and the International Student Council, with help from people from across campus, work very hard creating this wonderful celebration of diversity and unity at SIU.”

Everybody loves a parade

2023-01-10-3800-cv-sm.jpgThe International Parade of Flags, a most colorful and impressive assemblage, kicks off the festival at 10 a.m. Feb. 5. Students, faculty and staff from around the globe will depart from Woody Hall carrying flags representing their nations; many will wear their native attire.

The parade ends at the Student Center’s International Lounge where the official proclamation and university welcome ceremony take place at 10:30 a.m. The International Student Council, which helps plan the festivities, will lead the event that officially opens the International Festival. Campus leaders and city officials will participate.

Enjoy food from around the world

All year long, people from campus and the community eagerly anticipate the International Food Festival, a unique opportunity to sample varied culinary fare. The food fest begins at 11 a.m. Feb. 7 in the Student Center Ballrooms and will feature booths with food made by students representing diverse countries, regions and student organizations, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Persia/Iran, India, Latin America and Africa. They select items that are popular in their homelands and prepare and share them with visitors. Although the event is slated to run until 1 p.m., it’s not uncommon to run out of some dishes before the end, so organizers encourage visitors to arrive early to assure best selection.

Tickets are $1 each, and the number of tickets needed to purchase food items varies. Tickets for the food fest go on sale Jan. 29 at the Student Center Business Office window on the second floor and can be purchased there between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays through Feb. 2 and in the north hallway of the Student Center from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 5 and from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 6. Tickets will also be available at the registration desk in the International Lounge prior to the food fair on Feb. 7.

Follow the SIU Office of Student Engagement and the SIU Student Programming Council on Facebook and other social media for the latest updates, menus and more.

Learn about passports, explore study abroad options

The Study Abroad is a one-stop opportunity to learn about some of the vast array of study abroad opportunities SIU offers and to learn about how to apply for a passport. It takes place from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in the Student Center International Lounge.

Visitors can find information about SIU’s numerous study abroad programs. Ranging from one week to a year, many are led by SIU faculty and allow students to earn college credit while attending classes at various international locations. SIU partners with dozens of universities in more than 65 countries, either directly or indirectly through organizations. Those attending can talk with faculty and staff to learn more about options to study abroad, earning academic credit and obtaining financial aid. They can even enjoy virtual reality tours of study abroad programs.

Learn more about study abroad programs online or contact Amanda Sheffer, study abroad adviser at the Center for International Education, at 618-453-7670 or amanda.sheffer@siu.edu.

Experience an international culture showcase

The Cultural Show, which wraps up the week, features entertainment from around the world, courtesy of students. They will showcase their diverse backgrounds, cultures and nations through performances, including song and dance, at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, in the Student Center Ballrooms.

The show will feature international students from numerous different countries and global student organizations. Everyone is welcome to attend the free, family friendly event.

The International Student Council, a registered student organization, coordinates the International Festival with assistance from the Center for International Education, the Office of Student Engagement and the Student Center. Sponsors also include the Student Programming Council, Undergraduate Student Government, Graduate and Professional Student Council, Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Graduate School, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

For additional information, visit the website or call 618-453-5714.