International Coffee Hour showcases Zimbabwe

Coffee beans are being stirred and cooled at Radina's Coffeehouse & Roastery on Oct. 2, 2014 in Aggieville. Some beans create a "popping" sound during this time. (Rodney Dimick | The Collegian)

Coffee and culture were on the menu Friday at the International Student Center. Kansas State students, faculty and members of the Manhattan community gathered for International Coffee Hour.

Coffee Hour takes place on select Fridays throughout the school year, showcasing a different cultural group on campus at every event. This time, Gerald Mashange, graduate student in agricultural economics, educated attendees on his home country of Zimbabwe.

Mashange’s presentation touched on Zimbabwean history, food, music and places that he said everyone should visit in their lifetime.

He said coffee hour provided a great opportunity for him to speak to others about his culture.

“I think it’s always great hearing a story that’s more personal, rather than just Googling a place to learn about it,” Mashange said.

After Mashange’s presentation, guests were free to ask questions before sampling traditional Zimbabwean dishes. When asked what people should know about Zimbabweans, Mashange answered, “we are really friendly people, just like Kansans.”

Elena White, junior in biology, said she came to the presentation for the fun of learning about other cultures. She said other than some rough geographical knowledge, she didn’t know much about Zimbabwe before the event.

“I thought it was really enjoyable and really informative,” White said. “I would definitely come back for another presentation.”

Anna Hasler, graduate student in drama therapy and graduate assistant for International Student and Scholar Services, said she got involved with the International Student Center to learn more about diversity and the growing multi-cultural population on campus.

Hasler said there’s a lot that goes into planning Coffee Hour.

“Finding presenters starts months in advance,” she said. “We do all of the publicity and make sure our presenters are feeling pumped and prepared.”

While Hasler said the week leading up to Coffee Hour presentations is always crazy, she said she thought the event on Friday went well.

“I hope [attendees] understand how important it is for people to share their culture with others,” Hasler said.

The next International Coffee Hour is on Friday, March 22 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature Ecuador. International Coffee Hour takes place in the International Student Center on campus and is free to all who wish to attend.