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Rhythm of Nations Immerse Students in International Cultures

Ian Odell | Staff Writer

3 mins read
flag of different countries un members
Photo by Mathias Reding on Pexels.com

This Tuesday, Nov. 15, Drew’s International Students Association (ISA), in conjunction with several other student groups, held Rhythm of Nations in Crawford Hall. This event brought a multicultural experience to Drew as students shared the food of their respective cultures. 

A medley of dishes were available to students at the various tables lining the walls of Crawford Hall. In one corner, the Drew African Students Association (DASA) offered jollof rice, roast chicken and fried plantains. DASA president Angella Kasande (‘23) said, “Jollof rice—it’s made with rice, tomatoes, and onions. It’s a staple dish, so every West African country has its own version—so like, Senagalese jollof rice, Nigerian jollof rice, Ghanain jollof rice.” Some fellow students weighed in with their own opinions on which country, in particular, had the best jollof rice—it is an occasionally contentious issue. 

baklava dessert cut in diamonds
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

Adjacent to DASA’s table was Drew’s Cultural Italian American Organization (CIAO), which presented manicotti catered by Romanelli’s, located in Madison. Drew’s Hillel offered kugel, an often sweet casserole typically made up of egg noodles and interspersed with dried fruit. ISA, meanwhile, presented a great variety of dishes across the tables, from Ukrainian varenyky, dumplings stuffed with potatoes and cheese, to sushi platters. Drew’s Asian Student Union (ASU) included a collection of treats such as durian cake and dried seaweed. 

Finally, Drew’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), presented an array of baklava and informational posters on regional dishes in Palestine and the Middle East. Despite common error on the part of native English speakers, student Amineh A. (‘25) was there to correct them: “In Palestinian culture, it’s pronounced with a ‘w’ sound, so it’s ‘bak-lau-wa’ instead of ‘bak-la-va.’ We also typically make it with pistachios and walnuts, and instead of honey, which I know the Greeks use, we use a simple syrup.” 

The event was capped off with a Kahoot quiz covering geographical and cultural trivia around the world. Demetrios Karambelas (‘25) took first place, followed by Eliana Gonçalves (‘23) in second place and Gianna Olson (‘25) in third. Karambelas received a new Bluetooth speaker for his efforts. 

Students have Drew’s ISA to thank for organizing such a successful event with  delicious fare. Thanks should also be given to the student groups that contributed food and simultaneously increased cultural awareness here on campus.

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