Story by RANA ZAKARNA, for The Muleskinner—
In life, people have to be aware of every detail regarding their culture, including the language they speak, the kinds of relationships between men and women, the way they greet each other, they way they dress and many other things. People usually live in a place where they get to know the traditions and culture since they were born there, and then they become adults who got used to this culture and involuntary adopted it.
No matter how important any culture is to people, humans will still always need to expand their knowledge and gain more information about other cultures. This is to help them understand the behaviors of people from different countries with various cultures.
The international center at UCM offers a great chance to the Girl Scouts in Warrensburg to strengthen their knowledge about other cultures by letting international students give presentations about their country’s culture.
The international office has been holding this event for five years. The Girl Scouts usually prepare and read some books about the country the international student will be speaking about.
For this year’s presentations, my colleague presented about her country, Yemen, and I presented about my country, Palestine. We talked about different aspects of our cultures; the traditional dresses, food, dance, weddings, education and the historical and holy places in Palestine. The girls and their parents seemed to be amazed during the presentation. They were fascinated when they knew that there are some cultures that are so different than the culture they have here. The girls enjoyed the pictures of the different kinds of foods and the traditional occasions, which were shown during the presentation.
The girls asked a lot of questions during the presentation that showed how interested they were. Some asked about the traditional dress and in what occasions we usually wear it. A girl asked about the language we speak, specifically how sentences are translated from English into Arabic, and how I pronounce them. They were very happy when my Yemeni colleague and I wrote their names in Arabic on note cards and handed the cards to them as souvenirs.
We ended the presentation by showing them two videos, one about the Palestinian traditional dance, and one about the most beautiful places in Yemen.
It’s amazing how the international office at UCM provides such an opportunity to these girls. They get the chance to interact with international people, which will definitely help them gain more experience about other countries and cultures. This is also beneficial for the international students because they are able to paint a vivid picture of the rich history and colorful culture of their homelands.