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International students share cultural differences

November 12, 2013 12:30PM

Even the most experienced speakers know the anxious feeling one gets just before a presentation to a group. Try doing it in a foreign language.

This week, as part of the International Education Week observance at Pittsburg State University, students from around the globe are making cultural presentations and participating in various activities that highlight the diverse cultures of the 464 international students at PSU.

On Tuesday, groups of students from places like Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, China and Finland talked about the foods, traditions and personal traits of their native lands and how they differ from the life they have found in the U.S.

A student from Finland noted that people there are uncomfortable when someone gets too far into their personal space. In Saudi Arabia, breakfast probably includes dates and Arabian coffee. The Chinese enjoy shadow boxing and games like mahjong.

Cathy Lee Arcuino, director of International Programs and Services, said students in Transitions, a freshman experience class for international students, do the international country presentations as part of their coursework.

Yazeed Aldhwayan, a student from Saudi Arabia who is president of the PSU International Student Association, said the presentations can be stressful for new international students, but are good preparation for studies in the U.S.

“I’ve always felt this class helps students get ready for American school, which requires presenting to the class,” Aldhwayan said.

The country presentations are part of a week-long observance that culminates in the Taste and Sounds of Nations, an annual event that allows the public to sample foods from around the world, and see musical, dance and cultural performances by PSU international students. Taste and Sounds of Nations runs from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, in 109 Grubbs Hall.

©2013 Pittsburg State University