International Education Week brings the world to Brookings

International Education Week is a time for students to learn about different cultures, traditions and meet international students at South Dakota State University.

But Kanishka Jayasooriya, International Relations Council president, recognizes it as something more than a learning opportunity.

“I remember when I first came here three-and-a-half years ago, no one was talking to me, and I wasn’t talking to anybody. I was scared, and that’s how it is,” Jayasooriya said.

Many international students come to SDSU with this same feeling because it’s an entirely new setting for them. But “that’s why we do this,” said the senior electronics engineering technology major. The annual celebration is a way to include everyone and come together to learn and have fun.

“A lot of friends I have right now, I met them over the years that I was part of this … I met a lot of domestic friends through International Night and they made me feel welcome,” Jayasooriya said.

Students and community members can attend different events throughout International Education Week Monday, Nov. 14 through Sunday, Nov. 20, including:

·  International presentations each day during lunch on the Market Stage in The Union.

·  International Bingo at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16 for attendees to test their international knowledge.

·  International Dress Day on Friday, Nov. 17 where any student can dress up in their traditional dress for a chance to win a gift certificate.

·  International Night 2016 at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20 in the Volstorff Ballroom.

International Night is the “grand ending of the week” featuring a majority of the 85 different countries represented at SDSU.

This year’s theme is World at your Fingertips, with six dishes from five different countries in an all-you-can-eat buffet.

“You don’t have to leave Brookings to get a taste of [the world],” Jayasooriya said. All that’s required is a ticket to International Night.