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Bazaar bonds CESL students

Rodney Haas/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Tomomi Yoshida from Japan finishes writing someones name in Japanese as Hiroshi Tsubouchi looks on during the International Bazaar. The event, held at the Center for English as a Second Language building Thursday, was a place for international students who will be taking classes at the UA share aspects of their culture.
Rodney Haas
Rodney Haas/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Tomomi Yoshida from Japan finishes writing someone’s name in Japanese as Hiroshi Tsubouchi looks on during the International Bazaar. The event, held at the Center for English as a Second Language building Thursday, was a place for international students who will be taking classes at the UA share aspects of their culture.

The Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) hosted an International Bazaar on Thursday. Students in CESL demonstrated aspects of their individual cultures and shared them with the UA and Tucson community.

The event has been around since the mid-1970s.

According to the most recently published UA Factbook, there were 2,351 students from approximately 120 countries for the 2008-09 academic year.

“”A bazaar is something exotic or different because there are many cultures in one place,”” said Jennell Rae, student activities coordinator for the event.

Students from more than 30 countries shared their cultures with other students and those in the community. Event organizers were expecting between 150-200 people, the amount that normally attends the bazaar.

“”(It is important) to showcase and share the cultural diversity and customs of our student body with the community at large,”” Rae said.

Students shared their talents through song, dance, poetry, martial arts and drama, and patrons could sample food and look at different types of currency. Attendees could also have their names written in various languages and each room was decorated to represent different parts of the world.

In the Africa Room, students could learn some of the “”clicks”” of Xhosa, one of the official languages of South Africa.

Saudi students brought down the house with their song and dance, and were told they were too loud since other university classes were being conducted below. There were even lines for some of the rooms like the Saudi room.

“”It’s the students taking ownership and pride of their culture,”” Rae said.

Olga Geissler, the online coordinator for CESL and one of the event’s organizers, said the yearly event provides a unique opportunity for students.

“”It’s a cultural exchange; rather than just sitting in class learning about Argentina, you can learn about Argentina (from someone who’s from there),”” she said.

Also at the event were some elementary and middle school children. Every year, several local elementary and middle schools bring students to the event.

“”CESL students are the “”stars”” of the bazaar as they demonstrate and explain traditions from their cultures,”” Rae said.

There were no classes on Bazaar day for students in CESL.

Paul Stewart, an adjunct lecturer in CESL, said students develop global contacts through CESL and events like Thursday’s. He says an American student may only meet one international student by the time he graduates, but the students at CESL make friends with people from all over the world.

“”It’s not unusual for a Saudi to visit Japan because of the relationships students develop at CESL,”” Stewart said. “”They become life-long friends.””

Sarah Sung, a CESL student from Seoul, South Korea, said people were very interested to talk to her. Sung has been in Arizona for two months in hopes of learning English and attending the UA.

“”It’s really cool … in CESL, every day I learn about other cultures other than mine,”” she said.

Sung said she finds it interesting how similar many of the cultures are, even though they are so physically far apart.

“”We’re like the girls with the leis in Hawaii — CSEL is their first view of America,”” Stewart said.

Ohood Alshaalan, a CESL student from Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, said she enjoyed the event.

“”I know them for two months, but this is the first time I get to see their culture,”” Alshaalan said.

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