Community, Engagement, Belonging and Access

Clemson’s International Festival is like a free passport to countries around the world


CLEMSON — Nikeetha D’Souza is thousands of miles away from her native home in India, but still finds a sense of community and home at Clemson.

2018 International Festival vendors interact with guests on Bowman Field
2018 International Festival vendors interact with guests on Bowman Field

“The university provided an amazing opportunity to work on innovative and creative projects that were motivated by goals of increasing diversity in science education,” said D’Souza, a doctoral candidate who came to Clemson to study curriculum and instruction in science education.

D’Souza works in the department of teaching and learning as a graduate assistant where she engages with students, faculty and staff from around the globe, making for an even richer learning experience. Clemson’s diverse environment is one reason D’Souza said she is excited about plans to celebrate International Awareness Week April 8-12 during the university’s 26th annual International Festival.

“The International Festival is a celebration of Clemson’s multicultural global community,” D’Souza said. “This festival provides an opportunity for different members of this diverse group to share and learn from each other, have a platform for their voices and build a stronger sense of community.”

A report from Clemson International Services shows the Clemson family includes students, faculty and staff from more than 130 countries. Representatives from many of those countries will share their stories during the festival on Clemson’s Bowman Field from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 7.

“The importance of the International Festival is that we live in a global context where we have to know about and work with individuals from communities similar to and different from our own,” said Jerad Green, associate director of multicultural programs in the Gantt Multicultural Center.

Green said the festival is designed to be fun, educational and a different way to engage in cultural awareness.

2018 festival-goers take a moment to chat with each other while taking in the festivities.
2018 festival-goers take a moment to chat with each other while taking in the festivities.

“It brings more visible cultural practices and gives attendees the opportunity to learn more about our global community at Clemson,” Green said.

Organizers planned entertainment for adults and children. The Clemson Steel Drum Band will perform a variety of musical styles, including calypso, soca, pop, classical and Latin. The Transcultural Yazz Band, a Latin American-inspired group, will also play at the festival. Kidd will get a chance to win a door prize by participating in a passport activity. And a feature that speaks everyone’s language is food, and lots of it.

“For me, the International Festival is a reminder of home as I hear familiar sounds of music and language, smell familiar aromas of food from different parts of my country and share these memories with my loved ones,” D’Souza said. “It is a chance for me to be in two places at once – my old home back in India and my new one here at Clemson.”

Festival organizers ask Clemson students, faculty and staff to park in spaces further away from Bowman Field to allow more space for community guests.

Click here for more details on the festival, participating vendors, and International Awareness Week.

The Clemson International Festival and International Awareness Week is presented by the Harvey and Lucinda Gantt Multicultural Center in the Division of Inclusion and Equity.

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