Western gets a taste of Cameroon
March 8, 2017
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The Center for International Studies’ March Cultural Café featured cultural aspects about Cameroon.
The event, which featured an international student speaker from Cameroon, Simon Tagne, was held at the University Union Heritage Room. Authentic Cameroonian cuisine was served for guests attending the event. Rice, soup and fruit prepared Cameroonian style were served.
Tagne is a student who is pursuing a master’s degree in accounting. Prior to attending Western, he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Simon was taught computer science by Peace Corps volunteers when he was 13.
“I was taught by volunteer Peace Corps members in Cameroon for seven years,” said Tagne. “I was taught computer science by four Peace Corps members while in Cameroon. I received my first degree in Cameroon, which was a bachelor’s degree in accounting. I came here to Western to pursue a master’s degree in accounting. I think that life here in the United States is not so much different to the one back home. Some major differences are the surroundings and temperature, but nothing big. People in Cameroon like to have fun and are very friendly just like people like entertainment here.”
“This is a program that is done by the Center for International Studies on campus, which is independent from the Peace Corps and Western Illinois University,” said Peace Corp prep recruiter Jake Hamilton. “Through this program, what they do is promote culture share and peace through education and culture share.”
Hamilton further stated that the Cultural Café program emphasizes shared experience within the student body of Western Illinois University. As a part of Peace Corps week, Hamilton said that the event shares similar goals as the Peace Corps.
“By having international students share their stories and talk about their experiences in their country, it allows for others to really see and experience how life is outside of our country,” Hamilton said. “For Peace Corps week, we decided that it would be great to team up with the Center for International Studies to promote culture share.”
Information and cultural aspects of Cameroon were also provided by a Peace Corp volunteer member who had served there. Geographical location and information about the government were mentioned in the slides. Information about the culture and entertainment was also covered.
“Being a Peace Corps volunteer is not an easy task — it can be very tough — but if you can make it through the service, it is quite a rewarding experience,” said Peace Corp member Si Leng. “Members get the opportunity to travel to other countries, experience life outside one’s country, as well as get to help and teach those in need.
“In Cameroon, I was in agroforestry volunteer, so I worked with farmers,” Si leng continued I would help out in terms of using the best practices for farming. I would make sure that the soil was good and not degraded by using chemical fertilizers. We use sustainable technology and farming techniques that will not harm the environment.”
The Center for International Studies offers those who attend their events information about other cultures and promotes peace and education. This month featured culture sharing on Cameroon and different cultures are featured each month.