DCCC Hosts 10th Annual International Night

March 27, 2015 – Colorful clothing, a variety of flavors, sights and sounds from more than 30 countries filled Davidson County Community College’s Brinkley Gymnasium Thursday as the college hosted its 10th Annual International Night.

Participants at DCCC International NightInternational Night is a favorite tradition of faculty, students and community members, who were able to get a realistic taste of what life is like for people around the globe, from Puerto Rico all the way to Tunisia. The event featured tables representing different countries as well as activities and live entertainment, including a group of Cambodian dancers and a Russian folk singer.

Stephen Howell, an accounting major from Thomasville, was a part of a group representing the United Arab Emirates. Dressed in traditional white pants, robe and headscarf, he served baba ghanoush and kibbe for attendees to taste as they perused photos and artifacts from the country. 

Howell and his classmates worked for six weeks on preparing the display as part of their Arab Culture class, which DCCC is offering for the first time this semester. Students have studied the basic language and the economic impact of global trade, but most interestingly, they have discussed the various stereotypes formed in mass media and popular culture. 

“It’s been really interesting to see the different perspectives of people from other cultures,” Howell said. “We hear so much in the media about the Middle East, and most of it is about Al Qaida or ISIS, but to learn more about the lives of the average residents of these countries has been eye opening.”

Camryn Hatcher and Morgan Hicks, students at Valley Academy and DCCC, represented the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Hicks also participated in a fashion show during the event.

“My favorite part was the authentic food and drink samples from the countries, as well as the entertainment,” Hatcher said. “Putting together the information for my country and seeing all the others, I have learned a lot about the countries that I didn't know before.”

Thursday’s International Night showcased the many ways DCCC engages students in global education, a learning experience faculty hope will encourage students to continue exploring other cultures and prepare graduates for success beyond the classroom doors.

Carolyn Davis, adviser of the Rotaract International Club, which sponsored this year’s event, has been a part of International Night since its beginning, first as a student and now as a faculty member at DCCC. She says the event reaches far beyond just one night of learning for her and her students.

“When I first participated as a student getting extra credit in Spanish class, I loved learning about other people, places and cultures, and now as a teacher it is so rewarding to share my passion for international travel and to watch students engage in thought provoking discussions,” Davis said. “This event helps us explore stereotypes and how history around the world is tied together, so that it is not their history, but our history. Knowledge is powerful. It can dispel fear and prejudice.”

Proceeds from International Night helped the Rotaract International Club raise $1,050 for a study abroad scholarship and donations to the local Lexington and Thomasville Rotary Clubs for Alzheimer research and End Polio Now campaigns.