The 15th annual North Central College International Festival aims to be a teaching tool for global diversity. Event organizers want visitors to appreciate what we find in our very own town.
“The objective of the festival is to recognize the cultural diversity that you see here in Naperville and the surrounding areas,” said Kelly Pilleux, International Student Advisor at North Central College.
With new exhibits from Naperville-area establishments like the DuPage Children’s Museum, the festival is more child-friendly than ever.
“We want the children of Naperville to come here and see that not only can they find children from the same culture here, but also so that other children can see that we have cultural diversity here in Naperville,” said Pilleux”
Music and dance from various countries is highlighted, but one of the festival’s biggest draws is the immersion rooms.
Visitors spend 30-minutes with an instructor and are taught colors, numbers and greetings, all in a particular language, such as French or Arabic.
Some of these classes are even taught by international students attending the college.
College organizers say they hope the experience sparks student interest in international studies.
“Well I think it has a greater impact, because it makes them curious,” said Audrey Martin, Co-President of North Central College’s International Club. “Maybe this curiosity will have an impact as to what they study [later in life].”
“We have a lot of younger kids being interested [with exhibits at the festival] and the parents wanting the kids to learn about it,” said Bianca Gavin, a student at North Central College.
And the take away for attendees?
“It’s a really good way for kids to think about the world outside of Naperville and outside of the United States,” said Matthew Krystal, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at North Central College.
It’s also beneficial so attendees can appreciate the diversity in our very own backyard.
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