By Astrid Söderström
International Day was held on the McDaniel Budapest campus on May 6. The event, organized by the Student Council and volunteers, gathered people from more than 12 different cultures, Pre-Med and Study Abroad students were invited as well. Most students participated by bringing traditional foods, and setting the outside garden table with a multicultural feast, ranging from warm meals to sweets, from Belarus to Peru.
“It’s nice to share our culture with everyone else,” commented Janvi Baweja, a junior at McDaniel. She teamed up with our other Indian students to bring us Pani puri, a traditional street food. Janvi was even among the few wearing traditional clothing, dressed up in Kurti, a typical North Indian attire of a long tunic and leggings.
Other traditional dressers were Nargiz Bajramova, a sophomore, wearing a headdress from Azeri, and Nicole Anderson, a senior, wearing a poncho. The other foods included for example a Sacher cake from Austria, Kimbap from South Korea, and Yarpag dolmasi from Azerbaijan. Hungary and the United States were represented with a wide repertoire. Sadiq Abba, one of our Nigerian students, a senior, brought a dish that was enjoyed by many: Jollof rice and peppered chicken.
Sadiq was also looking back, remembering the last time there was an International Day a few years back. Since 2020, there have been fewer events at McDaniel Budapest because of pandemic restrictions. But the activities are restarting, with the help of our student body president Ninoshka Fernandes, who hopes International Day will become a reoccurring event.
This Spring, Student Council has been so active, that the event was already rescheduled once to give space for the student club room opening a week before. Now, the international celebration took place on a warm Friday evening in the backyard of the campus. The event had a summery atmosphere with lively chatter and activities such as henna painting, ring toss, beer pong, darts, and other outside games.
“First of all, I would like to thank the ones organizing this amazing event for us,” Ahmad Nasr, a McDaniel senior from Egypt, complimented the student volunteers, before turning the spotlight on everyone who participated: “You are [all] a part to make this event succeed.” Ahmad brought Egyptian cakes together with Seif Eldin Khalil, a sophomore at McDaniel. Seif also organized an on-site art display and fundraising for the #GiveBench initiative, aimed at supplying the school with new benches in the front yard.
McDaniel has a diverse, multitalented, and multicultural student body with students from 21 different countries, according to the school website. The international day was a great way to celebrate that and also, for our foreign students, to feel connected to home. That was echoed both by Janvi and Ahmad, who admitted missing home. There were also other McDaniel students that had traveled far from home.
“The Budapest campus has been amazing. It’s so great to meet people from all different cultures and get so many different perspectives, especially in class,” reflected Erinkimber Cunnane, a Study Abroad student from the main campus in Maryland. She described the student body at McDaniel College Budapest as a close-knit community – a little like high school but more mature.
Friday’s event was also an occasion for those types of community activities such as photography. Additionally, it was an opportunity for campaigning for our next year’s Student Advisory Council candidates. But most importantly, it was a much-welcomed evening of relaxing and mingling before the final exam week and the end of the semester approached.