The International Festival returned to campus, Thursday, to honor and celebrate The University of New Mexico’s international students and global connections.
This year’s festival, hosted by the Global Education Office for nearly two decades, marked the return of one of its most unique components— booths of international students sharing their country’s traditional recipes. The distinctive student vendor element of the fair was paused in previous years due to the pandemic. Its return meant a lot to international students like Christine Kanoire, a freshman nursing student from Uganda.
Kanoire prepared rolexes, an Ugandan street food similar to a burrito, made with fried whole-wheat flour, an omelette-style egg, cabbage and ranch dressing. Her booth also had African jewelry for sale.
“It feels so good that I’m showing my culture off that’s really very good for me because I can show people where I come from and what we eat,” Kanoire said. “I really love that I’m an international student and UNM really appreciates my culture and where I come from. That’s the best thing.”
UNM has more than 1,000 international students in various programs from more than 90 countries, according to Nicole Tami, executive director for Global Education Initiatives. The festival allows the students an opportunity to share their home cultures with the campus community, as well as, connect students with study abroad opportunities offered through the Global Education Office.
“It’s a really diverse event representing different aspects of our international community,” Tami said. “I don’t think people realize how many international students we have in the UNM community.
The University has the largest international student community in the state and sends the most students abroad of any university in New Mexico.
In addition to student vendors, the festival featured food trucks and international performances including Turkish songs, flamenco dancing, Quong Minh Lion dance, African percussion and more. Students could also visit booths for some of UNM’s language and culture clubs, resource centers, passport office and more.
Students interested in study abroad programs had the opportunity to speak with the Global Education Office and Passport Office at the event, but the festival also brought pieces of international culture right to campus.
“There are a lot of student organizations and individuals out at the festival just sharing a piece of their home country with UNM,” Tami said.