International food expo occurs Friday

Jessie Hellmann

Twenty-one countries invade USI Friday.

International students from 21 countries around the world will serve appetizers, main course meals and desserts from their countries at the annual International Food Expo from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday in Carter Hall. Price of admission is $12 and $5 for childen five and younger.

Junior Cindy Alfaro, international club president, has participated in the food expo for the past three years.

“This is the first time I get to represent my country alone, and I’m so excited,” Alfaro said.

In previous years, Alfaro didn’t get to represent her country, El Salvador, alone because there was a Latin American table.

For the expo she will make Pasteles de Carne and Salvadoran Coleslaw.

Alfaro is in charge of the fashion show and entertainment portion of the festival, and said 10 students will perform during the expo.

International students will perform traditional dances for their cultures every five to 15 minutes, Alfaro said.

Donald Peters, pediatric nursing major will DJ the event, so people can listen to music as they sample the different international foods.

“When you walk in, that feeling of…  You see all of the flags up there on the ceiling. That feeling is awesome,” Alfaro said. “And the anticipation you get to try great food and see so many performances on the stage.”

She said the international club has worked and planned for the expo since the beginning of the school year, and the club has grown closer because of it.

“I love my team right now. The officers have been the best team,” she said. “I feel happy. We all have our loads, but we’re able to split it and work as a team.”

And one of Alfaro’s teammates is junior Amie Shipman, the international club vice president.

She has also been involved with the food expo for three years.

She became involved her freshman year when her Cambodian friend needed help cooking for the food expo. During her second year participating, Shipman was the social coordinator, and now she is the vice president putting the whole event together.

This year the international students will focus on giving back to the community, she said. A lot of proceeds will go to the local food bank. Bracelets from BeadforLife will also be sold at the expo, and all proceeds will go to  the Ugandan woman who made the bracelets.

“It helps give these women some type of work they can sustain themselves on,” Shipman said. “We want to show that the international students are getting involved while they’re here, but the same time we want to help internationally because it is an international event.”

The International Club Secretary Alice Nguyen has also been involved with the international club for three years and is from Vietnam.

This year she will prepare spring rolls because they are easy to make and suitable for everyone to eat, she said.

“Preparing (for the expo) is really fun,” Nguyen said. “It’s really hard to be at school all day working, and then it’s really tiring, but afterwards it’s really rewarding.”