Cultural Cafe

Attendees at the first Cultural Cafe of the semester enjoyed cultural presentations and samples of authentic Mexican cuisine, Sept. 18, 2019. 

Kent State’s Cultural Cafe has much more to offer than your average cafe.

Hosted by the International Student and Scholar Services at the Office of Global Education, the presentations at the event focused on Mexico and the Mexican Border.  

People from rich Hispanic heritage to those with no Hispanic foreground enjoyed two speeches, a literal taste of Mexican cuisine and a Q&A about each speaker’s heritage at the end of the event. 

More than forty people attended the first Cultural Cafe of the semester where Benjamin Fregoso and Claudia Vanessa Garcia gave presentations about their Mexican heritage and culture. 

In between the speeches there was a break where attendees were invited to try samples of authentic Mexican cuisine.

Angelia Zielke, event coordinator of International Student and Scholar Services explained, “the speakers choose what food we (would) be having during our break.”

"One of the recipes we will be having is my mother’s recipe,” said Garcia.

Felicia Edlridge, a senior advertising major and first-time attendee of the Cultural Cafe, said, “I’m from a very Hispanic part of Chicago so it feels like a part of me.”

Those who missed out on today’s event can attend the next Cultural Café on Oct. 23.

With the U.S./Mexico border dividing us, the speakers explained what unites the two countries.  

“Some people ask if I am American or Mexican,” Garcia said. “And I always respond: Both.”

Contact Terry Lee III at

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Events like this are important because being an international student away from home is difficult to adjust to, compounded by our complex culture and language problems. Welcoming and assimilation assistance must come from numerous sources, including the White House, to aid these young people embarking on life’s journey.

Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and even informative books to extend a cultural helping hand.

Something that might help anyone coming to the US is the award-winning worldwide book/ebook "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.”

Used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it identifies how “foreigners” have become successful in the US, including students.

It explains how to cope with a confusing new culture and friendship process, and daunting classroom differences. It explains how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work with/for an American firm here or overseas.

It also identifies the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.

Good luck to all at KS or wherever you study or wherever you come from, because that is the TRUE spirit of the American PEOPLE, not a few in government who shout the loudest! Supporters of int’l students must shout louder.

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