Students Day 2009
Click on the image to view the I.S. Day poster.
Each fall, more
than 50 Smith students from some 21 foreign countries coordinate
a day of celebration around food from their native lands,
to be shared with the Smith community. A smorgasbord of recipes
from lands far and near will be served on Monday, Nov. 16,
from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Carroll
Room during , always a popular
Meanwhile, senior Panchali
Ellepola, who is from Sri Lanka, wrote for the Gate about
why, for her, I.S. Day is among the highlights of the year.
a senior on the verge of setting out into the real world,
I find myself often reminiscing about my fondest memories
at Smith. International Students Day, or I.S. Day, features
very prominently among these memories.
The I.S. Day food
festival, organized by the International Students Organization
(ISO) in collaboration with dining services, is celebrated
each fall in the Campus Center Carroll Room. International
students prepare mouth-watering dishes from their own family
recipes and sell it to the campus community during lunch.
I.S. Day always features an eclectic array of recipes, from
as far as Afghanistan, Croatia, Nepal and Sri Lanka, just
to name a few.
Panchali Ellepola in her homeland, Sri Lanka.
become more involved with ISO and the organization of the event, I have come
to realize that I.S. Day is controlled chaos. As the recipes start to flood in,
the ISO cabinet, dining services and Dean T (Hrayr Tamzarian, dean of international
students) are running helter-skelter trying to organize the logistics. Procuring
rare (and sometimes unheard-of) ingredients, trying to figure out the cooking
schedules for more than 40 busy Smithies and publicizing the event itself are
just some of the many tasks that need to be accomplished. Hosting an event such
as I.S. Day also poses many challenges. On more than one occasion Dean T and
dining services personnel have patiently listened to decipher vague descriptions
of strange herbs that are crucial to a certain dish but seem to have no English
Once cooking day arrives, however,
the day before I.S. Day, it’s
a party in the kitchen! There is music blaring in the background while delicious
aromas start to mix and meld into one I.S. Day potpourri. It usually takes the
utmost amount of self-control to stop from dipping into the Spanish Paella or
Tibetan dumplings ahead of time. On occasion, however, I have given into temptation
and “stolen” a few momos from the Nepali group or carried out a “mutual
food exchange” with the Ghana group or just appreciated the differences
between Sri Lankan and Bengali dhal curry.
These are just some of the elements
that make I.S. Day so special to international students.
It’s a chance
for us to showcase and share our culture and cuisine, a chance to appreciate
others and maybe most importantly, get a tiny taste of home.
Once all the chaotic
elements come together, I.S Day has a carnival-esque atmosphere.
It is a celebration of world culture and a way of bringing
people together through food. It is for this reason I.S.
Day is so special to me, and why I feel it is one of the
best showcases of Smith diversity.