International Education Week proves to be a feast for the senses with music, food and cultural connections

Durham College (DC) joined global International Education Week celebrations with crowd-pleasing performances for students and a mouth-watering street food festival.

Held during the third week of November each year, International Education Week was celebrated in more than 100 countries this year.

At DC’s Oshawa Campus, events included the Community Cultural Mosaic in The Pit on November 14. It featured music and dance performances, booths from culturally-focused community groups and snacks for students including warm samosas.

Spike Universe, a second-year student in the Music Business Management program, was among the performers.

“I think this gives opportunity for people to meet different cultures and show what they have,” he said of the event, adding he believes when people learn about culture, they learn about themselves as well.

“It helps you find your own personality and as well it builds a beautiful community around you.”

Spike, who is known by his stage name, got the crowd excited, waving their hands and dancing as he performed his original music.

“I’ve been making music for almost 25 years, so I’m an independent artist, I have a boutique record label, so I work with a couple of different producers from Sri Lanka and even in Canada and I’m coming out with my own genre,” he explains, adding that he’s working to launch a new genre called Ceylonese Vibe as a uniquely Sri Lankan sound.

Students at DC’s Whitby Campus also looked for cultural inspiration at the International Street Food Festival held on November 17.

Nine teams of second-year Culinary Management students served up street food-style samples inspired by culinary traditions in Mexico, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, India, Italy and Pakistan.

After trying all the flavours, attendees voted for their favourite dish with students Paulo Delgado and Jonathan Castillo taking the top spot with their arancini—Italian rice balls—served with Romanesco sauce and aioli. The dish was topped with cheese developed through DC culinary programs.

Paulo said the pair were inspired by their upcoming trip to Italy in February which is a DC Faculty-led Classroom Abroad trip.

“I can’t even express how excited we are,” added Jonathan. “We both had the opportunity to go to Peru last year and it was a fantastic experience.”

Paulo and Jonathan gave kudos to their fellow students who produced a tasty sampling of street food. They included Taiwanese pork buns, Sri Lankan chicken kottu, Mexican chilaquiles and Indian chicken kondattam.

“It encourages and motivates us to better develop our food,” said Jonathan of the event. “We have to work as hard as we can to make these dishes and at the end of the day it’s very enjoyable for us to see people come out and tell us they loved our food and tell us we did so well.”

Thom MacDonald, dean of International Education, said the International Education Week events highlighted student talent at DC.

“As our region and our college become more and more diverse, I think it’s really important for us to share and celebrate some of our cultural traditions just because it gives us a framework of understanding each other and really understanding the benefits of working together and studying together,” he added. “And also, it’s really fun. Studying is hard and any time we can take a step back and enjoy our experience, I think it’s really important.”