Homecoming is widely celebrated in high schools and universities across the country but it is strictly an American festivity. International students have been introduced to this event through friends, fliers, Hollywood and the Internet but experiencing the event makes the idea easier to grasp.
Cristina Miola, junior in civil engineering from Brazil, said her country does not have any celebrations similar to homecoming. She said although students involved in greek organizations largely participate in the events leading up to homecoming, it is also important to some students who are not a part of greek organizations. Even though some may feel excluded because they are not a part of any organizations, it is still a nice way to meet people. Although Miola did not know much about the American tradition, she believe the general idea of a homecoming is beneficial.
“I think (it) is important to keep in touch with people who have moved to another stage in life,” Miola said.
She also said even though there was not much to say about a big party, it seems like it would interesting to participate in for someone who likes large celebrations.
Oluwatobiloba Adenuga, junior in biology from Nigeria, said that the American universities in Nigeria have homecoming but the Nigerian schools have annual alumni reunions, an event when students who have graduated come back to the university to partake in festivities and to interact with current students.
When Adenuga came to the U.S., she said she had a vague idea of what homecoming was from the fliers sent to her from K-State. She said she was looking forward to homecoming because there was so much to do and learn.
“I’m always excited about homecoming week, not because it’s also midterms week but because it’s very refreshing,” Adenuga said. “All the activities to do and people to meet and just the feeling of family is something I always look forward to.”
Adenuga is taking part in homecoming events with the International Coordinating Council, a student organization that promotes cultural understanding of diverse nationalities.
“I believe that it (homecoming) is open to every organization at K-State that is interested,” she said. “Even though it seems like mostly greek organizations participate, I believe it’s because they are the most enthusiastic about.”
Elson Menezes, freshman in economics from the United Arab Emirates, said his country does not have anything similar to the U.S.’ homecoming celebrations.
“Back home colleges wouldn’t do much for school spirit honestly, we did have a few cultural festivals but it was rare to find such events take place,” Menezes said.
Menezes said colleges in the UAE did hold an annual reunion event for alumni to come back and visit their former professors but since the reunion only lasted a couple hours, most alumni were unwilling to travel the distance.
“It lacked attendance mainly due to the fact that students would usually leave the country or state in search of jobs,” he said.
Menezes was excited to experience his first homecoming event at K-State. Prior to homecoming week he was not familiar with the events but gained an idea of what to expect based on the fliers and advertisements around campus.
International students looked forward to meeting new people and were excited about having new experiences during homecoming week.