An international get-together called Global Village in Vrimlehallen was packed with food, culture, and exchange opportunities.
Written by: Ingrid Dihle
On the 30th of January, International day/ Global Village was held as a large international get-together in Vrimlehallen on Campus Kristiansand. The event was organised by the International Education Office, together with Global Lounge and current international exchange students. Students and staff had the chance to meet representatives from UiA’s partner universities and learn more about the exchange opportunities the university has to offer. Throughout the day, informal information meetings were held around campus about all countries and institutions represented, so the students could learn more about exchange opportunities.
Janne Strøm-Fladstad from the Division of Student and Academic Affairs was responsible for bringing UiA’s partner universities to the event.
“This is the first time we have gathered so many of our partners to the same event. It was a nice way to assemble international students, Norwegian students and our partners at the same time,” Strøm-Fladstad said.
María Boyero Merino is from Spain and has worked at the Global Lounge full-time as an intern since last autumn. This is her second time hosting Global Village and she hopes that the event will become a tradition at the beginning of each semester.
“We started planning this event right after the Global Village event we had last fall. We want to make it easier for students at UiA to learn more about what exchange opportunities they have,” Boyero Merino said.
International students from all over the world showcased their institutions to UiA students and staff so they could learn more about their countries and culture, as well as taste some of their national dishes.
The goal was to bring international and Norwegian students closer together and increase the amount of international activities at the university, as well as showcasing international opportunities and culture.
Some of the partner universities represented on this day were from USA, Australia, Scotland, Austria, Germany, Spain, Kazakhstan, Uganda, Switzerland and France.
“In the beginning, the most challenging thing was to make sure everyone relaxed and had fun. Some students were nervous about signing up to present their countries, but once they realised how fun it could be, we could enjoy it and have a good time,” Boyero Merino said.
Lilia Mena is from Mexico and started working as an intern at the Global Lounge this semester.
“I just arrived three weeks ago, but it was really fun getting to be a part of organising this event,” Mena said.
For Lilia Mena, the best part of the event was learning interesting facts about different cultures, tasting food and meeting so many interesting people.
The students from the Netherlands taught people Dutch expressions, and the Korean ambassadors served traditional food and handed out passports which included travel tips, fun facts and everyday expressions in Korean. The students representing Austria wore traditional clothes and served delicious pancakes with apple jam.
The most popular and colourful stand of the day was the one which represented Kazakhstan. They served local tea and food and showcased handmade artefacts that were very popular among the visitors.
“I didn’t know Kazakhstan was a partner university, so it was a pleasant surprise to me that they were participating,” Mena said.
Paris School of Business (PSB) is one of UiA’s newest partner universities. They are currently hosting the first Norwegian students from UiA in Paris and are now searching for more Norwegian exchange students to study at their university. During the event, they handed out free miniature Eiffel Towers which were very popular amongst the crowd.
UiA Nyskaping promoted Gründerskolen, an entrepreneur summer school which includes a 10-week programme where start-ups can get international experience on how to successfully start a new business. They offer valuable experience which combines both theory and practice in the world’s best innovation environments.
As an intercultural meeting place, the Global Village created an arena for people to come and ask questions about going on exchange. It also enabled intercultural acquaintances between Norwegian and international students.
“We look forward to the next Global Village and hope as many as possible take advantage of this great opportunity,” Strøm-Fladstad said.