International Coffee Hour attracts students interested in culture

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Phillip Defoe, doctoral student in agronomy soil chemistry, hosted an International Coffee Hour event, where he spoke about his home country of Dominica its culture.

Defoe said a common misconception people have is that Dominica is the same as the Dominican Republic, and he stressed that the two are different countries. Defoe also spoke about the geography, native languages, traditional dances and the importance of nature in Dominica. Videos were incorporated into Defoe’s slideshow to give the audience visuals for different aspects of Dominica.

“I loved how he used videos during his presentation,” said Connie Beck, senior in family relationships and human services. “I got to see the country in the context of a film, feeling like I was there and seeing the different colors, the dances they have, the food that they eat and how they speak their languages.”

Beck said it was very evident how passionate Defoe was about his country, and that she was glad she could get out of her comfort zone to come and view a new culture.

International Student Scholarship Services sponsors Coffee Hour every other week during the semester and organizes the speakers for each coffee hour. Jessica Munoz, graduate student assistant for the ISSS center, said it’s her job to send out emails and personally contact international students at K-State, asking if they would like to do a presentation on their native country.

“We always get a great response,” Munoz said. “We usually end up having to turn people down because we’ve either already had their country presented or there just isn’t a spot open for them to present.”

Munoz said ISSS typically doesn’t let countries present if they have had a presentation on that country within the last four years, in order to keep the coffee hours different every time. Being the only student at K-State who is from Dominica, Defoe was reached out to by ISSS and was asked to present about his country. He said he was very thankful he was able to speak about Dominica.

“I am happy, excited and elated that I was asked to present,” Defoe said. “I want everyone to walk away understanding a little more about Dominica, the pristine nature we have there and I want everyone to want to come visit Dominica.”

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