Sounds of laughter, music and the smell of rich food from around the world emanated through the entrance of Royal Road University’s Grant Building on Wednesday afternoon.
The university was holding its annual international showcase where students from around the world could share their food and culture with others.
Students from Canada to Kuwait chatted with each other over tasty treats and eventually gathered for a talent show filled with song and dance.
Negar Abedi is a student from Iran and she said events such as this one, where students can showcase where they are from, are “beautiful.”
“Just seeing how many people we have from all around the world at Royal Roads kind of gives me that feeling of not being alone,” Abedi said. “It’s great to see it at least once a year in such a great capacity.”
Abedi said being able to share her culture and see others also helps her feel more at home while at school.
Royal Roads University’s new president, Philip Steenkamp, attended the event for the first time. He said he had the opportunity to talk with students from many different countries and try all of their food.
“This reflects the incredible diversity of the students we have here at Royal Roads,” Steenkamp said. “It’s great to attract students from other countries but also fabulous for Canadian students to have exposure to so many different cultures.”
Armando Camara has been at Royal Roads for a little more than a year and was one of the organizers for the event. While organizing the event took a lot of time, he said it was great to see everyone work together.
“I think it’s important to have this kind of event just to create some consciousness,” Camara said. “We can make a small change here … it’s great to see some cultures where traditionally they have small conflicts between them but here, they are friends.”
Aaliyah Jariwala is a student from Kuwait who started school at Royal Roads in September. She was dressed in traditional clothes and gave visitors at her table samples of an Arabic perfume to try.
“This gives us a bit of an opportunity to showcase our food, culture, heritage … and really our culture is our identity,” Jariwala said. “I feel so accommodated here because I know I don’t have to hide behind my cultural identity.”
Jariwala said she is comforted knowing there are other students like her who are trying to mix their cultural identity with that of Canada.
“We can truly be ourselves here,” Jariwala said.