Published on May 3, 2021 by Holly Gainer  
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Various cultures from nearly every continent around the world were represented at Samford University’s Global Connections event on April 15. The event, which was sponsored by the Global Engagement Office, celebrates the myriad of cultures represented on campus by international students and promotes the benefits of international education opportunities.

Booths representing regions around the world, including Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Australia, were set up and run by students from various campus organizations that have met and prepared for the event since the beginning of February. Each station offered food, games, music and activities that are unique to the countries they represented.

“It is our hope that the event celebrates the connection of students from different cultural backgrounds and encourages students to explore opportunities for intercultural learning on-campus and abroad,” said Jennifer Beck, international student and scholar coordinator for Samford’s Global Engagement Office. “The greatest reward for planning this event comes when I see Samford students embrace and appreciate aspects of other cultures that they have not experienced before.”

It is also an opportunity for international students to bring a taste of their own countries to Samford. 

“Global Connections is a way for us to highlight the regions of the world that our international students come from. We have so many students who are passionate about international education or want Samford to get to know their culture,” said Harper Whaley, a junior sociology major, president of the International Club and the lead coordinator of the event. “I hope that students were able to gain a broader perspective on the world. Whether it was trying the international food, getting henna, or participating in global trivia, our hope is that students are able to better understand and appreciate different cultures and regions of the world.”

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, many students were unable to travel abroad due to international travel restrictions. Last year’s Global Connections event was also canceled.

Beck hopes this will excite students about future international education opportunities once it is safe to travel again.

“After a year of limited opportunity for connection and community, we felt it was more important than ever to invite students to come together and experience some of the world’s cultures and explore study abroad opportunities as the world begins to open up and travel resumes,” Beck said.

For more information about how Samford works with international students or study abroad opportunities, visit the Global Engagement Office website.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.