Cultural Cafe hosted by The Center of International Studies

William Turkington, Courier Staff

The Center for International Studies (CIS) will host a Cultural Café in the Heritage Room of the University Union from 12-1 p.m. on April 16, that will feature the country of Pakistan.

The event will feature a presentation by Muhammad Omer on various aspects of Pakistani life. Sodexo will also cater an authentic Pakistani lunch, with the recipe provided by the presenting student.

“Cultural Cafés are a way for international students to share stories of their countries and culture with WIU students, faculty, administration, and community members,” Dana Sistko, assistant director for the Center for International Studies said. “It’s a kind of armchair traveler experience for the people who attend the cafes to learn more about countries that they cannot travel to themselves.”

Sistko helps these events run smoothly and would like to encourage students of all backgrounds to attend these cultural experiences.

“No one is more or less out of place than the person next to them,” said Sistko. “These events are open to everyone and they are a great place to start learning about other cultures of the world.”

Sistko would also like to clarify that Cultural Café presentations are not just limited to Western’s international student population.

“We recently had one presented by a Returned Peace Corps Fellow and have had returned study abroad students and other American students present on their heritage,” said Sistko. “We think those presentations might inspire some of our domestic students to investigate traveling abroad and spreading the advantages of Western’s program with others.”

Omer is a graduate assistant with the Center for International Studies. He helps the center put on various campus events for all students including the International Bazaar that took place in the Union last month. Omer is eager to share his culture with the Western student body.

“I decided to present at a Cultural Café because I have attended several of these cafes at WIU and have enjoyed them very much,” Omer said. “Cultural Cafés provide international students like me the great opportunity to share information on our home country’s culture and a great chance for the campus community to learn about different countries and cuisines of the world.”

Omer will be talking about the difference between the way of life of rural and urban Pakistani’s, the different ethnicities in the country, their culture, traditions, cuisine, geography, and some other fun facts. Omer, like Sistko, would also like to encourage students who don’t regularly attend these events to give them a shot.

“One should not be hesitant at all or feel out of place when it comes to cultural events because these events are very informative and interesting,” Omer said. “You get to learn about different cultures and traditions, and have the opportunity to ask questions you’re curious about which broadens your perspective and helps you see things differently.”