Attending Millikin University is truly an international experience, especially in September.
That’s when the Center for International Education hosts International Month, and the learning involves as many of the five senses as possible.
Cuba has been the focus this year with photography on display in Richards Treat University Center and a presentation and concert by Jose Eladio Amat, head of the percussion department at the National School of Art in Havana, Cuba.
Cuban cuisine was also featured for lunch Wednesday in the student dining room at Richards Treat.
“Each year we try to make sure the celebration for each country is not just for the mind, but also for the body,” said Carmen Aravena, director of Millikin’s Center of International Education.
Aravena and Jacob Cushing, coordinator of International Student Services, invited as many of the 40 international students on campus as could make it to share the meal together.
The group agreed their lunch of Cuban chicken fricassee and Spanish white beans with spinach was healthier than the typical American fare of burgers and pizza. “Since I am here, I eat a lot of junk food,” said Tom Pardo, a senior from France.
Edouard Meloux, a freshman exchange student from France, admitted that he missed his own country’s food but doesn’t let a little thing like that curb his appetite. He went back for seconds on the braised cabbage and a generous piece of tres leches (three milks) cake, among other things.
“I eat a lot,” he said. “Every lunch I have four plates, something like that.”
Sultan Alamri, a sophomore from Saudi Arabia, said he preferred the chicken and beans/spinach dishes.
Server Peggy Tanner said the chicken and cabbage were the most popular choices, but that several students were persuaded to sample the beans and spinach as well.
“At least they tried it,” she said. “That’s all we can ask.”