June 16th, 2024

Living Library an opportunity to explore other cultures

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on November 17, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Students access the Living Library to learn about different cultures on campus from international students on Wednesday at the University of Lethbridge.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The University of Lethbridge Library partnered up with International Students Services to celebrate International Education Week with a Living Library, giving students and staff an opportunity to learn about the different cultures present on campus.

International students from eight different countries shared their culture and traditions with others through displays outside of the university library on Tuesday. Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Ukraine and Vietnam were represented at the Living Library.

University of Lethbridge library operations specialist Nanda Stannard said the Living Library gives people the opportunity to talk to an international student about their country and culture instead of taking out a book.

“Every year is different because different participants are here. It is a fun way to celebrate diversity in our campus,” said Stannard.

She said the university values internationalization a lot, and it is present in their academic plan as a mandate.

“As a library we always want to be at the forefront of that, to spread out knowledge and experience,” said Stannard.

International student from India, Rikin Patel, said he had the opportunity to talk about his culture with a lot of people asking him many questions.

“People asking especially about our history, some myths and superstitions, like this temple in India in the southern side is believed to be one of the richest temples in the world. It has two chambers that are still locked, and it’s assumed that if one of these chambers is unlocked, it could change India’s GDP,” said Patel.

International student from Nigeria, Oluwacomisola Cline said she was showcasing her country to educate people who are interested in the history of Nigeria, and to debunk stereotypes about Africa.

“A lot of people think that Africa is a really poor continent, or they just think that Africa is a country. No, Africa is a continent with 54 countries all with various cultures that are different and unique in their own way,” said Cline.

She said that another stereotype is that people in Africa do not have access to technology and everyone lives in mud huts, but that is not true.

“Don’t get me wrong, some of us definitely live in mud huts, but that was our way of living before we got introduced to the western world and we still survived off that. But right now, we have a blend of both modern houses and traditional mud huts,” said Cline.

International student from Mexico, Jorge Escobar, said he had the opportunity to talk to people about nature, culture and the ‘day of the dead’ among other things from his country.

“An opportunity for people to learn more than they already know about Mexico, like the different foods between states as it is not the same in Mexico City as another city in Mexico, because they use different ingredients and make food in different ways,” said Escobar.

He said that one good example was the Mexican food called mole, where the mole in Chiapas is spicy, but not as spicy as the one in Puebla.

This year marks the eighth year of Living Library at the University of Lethbridge.

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