Pakistani exchange student Archana Nilhani describes the different mosques in her home country of Pakistan. Photo by Surya Gopalan.

International students promote diversity at Global Cafe

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A collective gasp was heard across the HSU Library Fishbowl after Pakistani exchange student and Humboldt State business major Archana Nilhani made a shocking statement.

“You can go to jail just for celebrating Valentine’s Day there,” Nilhani said.

Nilhani delivered an insightful presentation on her home country of Pakistan during Global Cafe on Tuesday.

The presentation is part of a semester-long series put on by HSU Clubs & Activities and Associated Students, known as the Global Cafe.

With 61 students in attendance, attendees were offered coffee and a traditional Pakistani dessert known as gulab jamun at the entrance.

The presentation consisted of basic information about Pakistani geography, the different cultures within the country and a brief look into the history of how Pakistan came to be. The presentation went so far as to even address certain social justice issues in Pakistan and contrasted them to issues we have to deal with in the United States.

Nilhani was excited to be at HSU and enjoyed her experience as an international ambassador. She also shared what she planned to do with her experience as a business major.

“I want to help blend cultures through clothing and fashion design. I am really lucky to be here on a scholarship,” Nilhani said. “The government wants me to pursue my dreams.”

Of the many students in attendance, Gary Ploenus, an international student from Germany, looked forward to this event.

“Being an international student myself, I thought it would be very interesting to not only learn about other cultures, but see how Americans react to learning about other cultures,” Ploenus said.

Molly Kresl is a coordinator for the Clubs & Activities office.

“The school has been trying to do a better job [of] getting international students engaged in the student life,” Kresl said. “We are hoping to give current HSU students a chance to understand other cultures and see what they are like.”

Kresl hopes to include presentations by people of indigenous descent for the next semester and also encourages students to approach her if they want to do their own presentation.

The next Global Cafe, presented by an Italian HSU student, will be on March 21 in the same location at 5 p.m.

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