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CCGA celebrates diversity at International Fest
Posted 04/03/2017 10:58AM

By LAUREN MCDONALD lmcdonald@goldenisles.news

Adam Kim, a freshman at College of Coastal Georgia, was proud to share his culture with his fellow students and community members on Friday.

Kim, who took part in the college's sixth annual International Fest, showed off his taekwondo skills for the crowd, breaking boards and bricks with his bare hands and performing self-defense moves with a partner.

He said taekwondo is the national sport of South Korea, his family's home country, and he's been training since he could walk.

"I think that we should do these events more often, not just once in a while," Kim said. "Some people don't know about other cultures, they only know their culture. So when you explore it with them, everybody grows together."

The International Fest aims to expose CCGA students to diversity outside the college, through performances, vendors, food booths and a cultural expo.

Greg Aloia, CCGA's president, said he wants his students to be able to experience at least 30 cultures while they're on campus. An international education is paramount to a successful college experience, he said.

"If you're a student from some other country and now I begin to socialize with you, then I study with you and I break bread with you and I learn to appreciate this rich diversity you bring to the table," Aloia said. "And then you're ready for the 21st century."

A performance from the Yiddish band Klezmer Local 42 followed Kim's taekwondo showcase. Jones-A-Phones and Acrobatrix also performed. Food from around the world was served on the college lawn, along with art work made locally.

Students also set up booths to highlight their cultures.

"It's a good way to expose yourself to different cultures," said CCGA freshman Amari Williams, just after getting a henna tattoo printed on her arm. "Some people don't have the opportunity to go around the world and visit these places, so festivals like these are great."

Kim's booth showcased a South Korean flag, women's headdresses and other visual displays of the country's culture. He also wore a hambok, a type of traditional everyday men's wear from South Korean history.

"This is actually all my stuff," he said. "This is from my house. My father is from Korea and they moved to the states almost 30 yeas ago."

Sobia Dal, a sophomore at CCGA, set up a booth with information about her family's home, Pakistan.

She said the festival showed off the diversity on campus.

"I hope this event makes people more open minded," she said.

Broadening one's perspective is what college is all about, Aloia said.

"I want them to be as comfortable with someone from Jaipur, India, as they are from Jesup, Georgia," he said. "And then I think we've been successful giving them a full college education."

Photo by Bobby Haven of The Brunswick News

College of Coastal Georgia student Ashma Sapkota paints a henna drawing on the arm of fellow student Desiree Mathis on March 31 during the 6th Annual College of Coastal Georgia International Festival.

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