Giselle Fernandez, International Club President, said she thinks of the annual International Food Expo as her “baby.”
Fernandez, junior biology and geology double major, has been involved with the expo since 2012 and is now planning it for the first time.
“It’s definitely getting bigger. People know about it now because we’ve been working on our advertising,” Fernandez said “About two years ago, we had 400 people attend and last year we had 500, so the numbers keep increasing. We would love to fit more, but with the fire code we can’t.”
The International Food Expo is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Feb. 20 at Carter Hall.
Appetizers, main dishes, desserts and vegetarian options representing 24 different countries will be available at 24 booths.
Countries will also be represented with entertainment.
“We’ll have Chinese, Hispanic and American entertainment, and there’s a girl from Nepal who is going to sing, so it’s going to be very diverse, which is the whole purpose of it,” Fernandez said.
She said attending the expo is an inexpensive and fun way to experience a diverse range of cultures.
“The thing that I love most about it is that you can see so many countries working together and everybody’s helping out, and you can’t see that anywhere else in my opinion. It doesn’t matter what religion you believe in, what country you’re from, we just all help out each other,” she said. “For people who like to try new things, (there are) so many different food in just one room and you can eat as much as you want.”
Unlike Fernandez, freshman Jackeline Yagual is not a food expo veteran. Yagual, a cultural exchange student from Ecuador, said she is excited to participate in her first expo and “show off her culture” by making Seco de Pollo — a chicken and rice dish — for the students.
“I joined the international club because I have a way to interact with other nationalities and get to know about them because they are all so fun,” she said. “I’m excited to see all the other international students show what they like to eat and how they work.”
Yagual said people shouldn’t just come to sample the food, but to meet new people they may have never thought about befriending before.
“I expect to meet people from other cultures and, also, I expect to have a lot of fun,” she said. “I think that cultural exchange is awesome. I really love it. It’s like making another culture your own. You can find amazing people there.”
Tickets will be on sale Monday through Thursday at the International Office in University Center West and are $10 if bought in advance and $12 at the door.
Part of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Potter’s Wheel Food Bank and students who attend are encouraged to bring canned foods to donate.