The Whole Shebang Starts Conversations

In an effort to bring international cultures together through means of discussions, food and music at The Whole Shebang event that was on Saturday in the International House.

The event was hosted by Taneika Gibson and Prateek Shetty, Ms. and Mr. International UCO 2018-2019. The event was named the The Whole Shebang, because they wanted to cover the mixture of elements that would be presented in the event.

Shetty’s platform is “Making People Aware of International Cultures” and she also focuses on other practices, and Gibson’s platform is “I Am Not My Skin.” Gibson said their platforms are both very similar, and they decided to hold an event together to promote their platforms.

“We want to fight stereotypes against international and domestic students, and having this discussion really helped,” Gibson said.

The discussion was hosted by Rasta Khiz, assistant executive director of the UCO Office of Global Affairs. During the discussion Khiz provided people with questions, and students from different places around the world would share their experiences from their cultural perspective.

“It is really important for people to know how to engage with international students, how perspectives are different culturally,” Khiz said. “Such simple things that they mentioned, we do not pay attention here and when they talked about it, it is a big and different thing in another country.”

Some of Khiz’s examples were holding a door for others and greeting strangers with “how are you?”, which are social norms in America, but not in other countries such as Malaysia.

Khiz asked the audience questions such as: dating differences, family cultural differences, cultural elements that you would like to bring from your country, first impression of Oklahoma, etc.

Amanda Goh, president of the International Student Council, said her first impression of Oklahoma was that it was more of a flat land, filled with farm animals but instead, she grew to love Oklahoma more by knowing the culture here and the gorgeous places.

After the discussion, Shetty and Gibson had different games for the students and food was provided from different international restaurants. There was food representing Pakistan, Indian, Bangladesh, Korea, Arab, South America, Africa and Vietnam.

“A slightly better domestic student turnout would have helped give a better domestic perspective of international cultures,” Shetty said. “But it was a good turnout for me personally, because it was the first big event I’ve hosted on the UCO campus and people wiped out the food.”

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