KINGSTON — International Club of the Wyoming Seminary Upper School hosted its 24th annual International Dinner in the student center on Saturday.

The dinner featured a buffet of student-made food and drinks from 14 different countries and gave students a chance to share their traditional meals with faculty and family.

Jessica Gensel, Mandarin teacher and International Club adviser, helped to run the event.

“International Club is basically a club where people form different countries join to learn about each other’s culture and languages,” she said. “They come here and bring this diversity to the community.

“This is the International Dinner, which we have in the winter time. Students … cook food from their home (country). They bring it here, write up the recipe. They prepare it over winter break.”

The school also has an International Carnival in the fall and an International Assembly in the spring.

“I think Sem has a really unique atmosphere for diversity since we have so many students from different countries, and you can hardly find such diversity in this area,” Gensel said. “We want to be able to spread this kind of diversity to our community members and let them appreciate a different culture and be more open-minded.

“I think it’s an important skill for 21st century students.”

Jim Doherty, a mathematics teacher at Wyoming Seminary, also believes diversity is helpful to students.

“I really notice it helping students once they graduate,” he said. “They come back a few years later and say that they adjusted much better to life on a university campus than some of their peers because they’re used to seeing people of all backgrounds and hearing foreign languages that they might not know.”

Doherty added that the events also help the faculty.

“It’s really great for faculty to have these events because it helps us get to know the students outside of the classroom. I have students waving me over to come try the food they made. It’s a great way to interact,” Doherty noted.

Maria Jonsson, a junior exchange student from Sweden, shared a Swedish dessert, which translates to “chocolate balls.” The balls, typically had with coffee, are covered in coconut and contain cocoa, oats and coffee.

“This is a typical pastry that we eat when we take a coffee break, so we usually drink coffee and eat the pastry, and this is a very typical pastry,” she said. “I think it’s really cool that Sem can come together as a community and share different cultures since we are a very diverse community here.”

Sabin Warkentin, 5, who’s father is a professor at Wyoming Seminary, enjoys some foods Saturday night.

Nancy Chen, a Wyoming Seminary student from China, pours some Thailand iced tea.

Wyoming Seminary senior Jennifer Kang, a student from South Korea, serves Korean pancakes.

Wyoming Seminary Junior Rebecca James serves parroz con gandules, a rice dish from Puerto Rico.

Allison Lyavdansky serves up Russian blini with jam during the 24th annual Wyoming Seminary International Dinner on Saturday at the school in Kingston.

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