Tag Archives: OIA

TSU international food festival highlights cultural exchange, world-wide cuisines

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –  From Ethiopian injera, a pancake-like flatbread, to Indian samosa, a fried pastry with a vegetable filling, the savory smell of exotic spices filled Elliot Hall on the Tennessee State University campus.

TSU student Aziz Alqari serving Saudi Arabian cuisine during an International Food Festival and Cultural Exchange event.

More than 150 students and staff members visited booths during the International Food Festival and Cultural Exchange event hosted by TSU’s Office of International Affairs (OIA).  

The annual student activity included representation from seven regions and dozens of countries from around the world like Brazil, Turkey, and Nepal.

The OIA Executive Director, Dr. Jewell Winn said it was a great time for students to showcase their heritage through their international dishes.

“To see so many people come out, it warmed my heart,” Winn said.  “They were very proud to be able to share their culture.”

This festival was also an opportunity for local businesses and artisans to showcase their products.

TSU alumna Martha Lupai roasting Ethiopian coffee beans during the food festival. (Photo by Dylan Tate)

TSU alumna Martha Lupai of Ethiopia, has a business in Nashville’s local Farmers Market. During the event Lupai had made Ethiopia coffee from scratch to share.

“Food brings people together,” Lupai said. “It’s my duty as a student of TSU to share my culture. I love sharing my culture with food, clothes, and products. That is my passion in life to connect people to their roots.”

Aziz Alqari, a TSU master’s student from Saudi Arabia shared the same sentiment.

“We have a lot of international students from all over the world at TSU,” Alqari said. “So, I think it is a chance to see the variety in our school.”

More than 150 students and staff members visited booths during the 2023 International Food Festival and Cultural Exchange event.

Alqari, who is receiving his MBA in supply chain logistics, said he enjoyed everyone tasting the middle eastern cuisines.  

“Everyone had a good time. I made a lot of friends and tasted a lot of different food.”

TSU Celebrates International Education Week

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Office of International Affairs at Tennessee State University kicked off International Education Week 2018 with a workshop on regional diversity and inclusive excellence, and an open house showcasing its new headquarters in Holland Hall.

The week, which began Nov. 2 and concluded on Nov. 8, featured many activities, including a study abroad fair, a panel showcasing cultural diversity, an African dance workshop, and a cultural celebration and family fun night.

Students received walk-in study abroad advisement.

“We’ll be talking to students about what they should be thinking about in pursuing a study abroad experience, not the study abroad experience specifically,” said Mark Brinkley, director of International Education in the Office of International Affairs. “Some students are beyond that. They have already done their research, and they know what experience they would like to participate in. We are talking to those students about how do you apply to that program.”

Mark Brinkley, director of International Education in the Office of International Affairs, speaks with  students about activities planned for International Education Week 2018.

Brinkley said OIA’s new office suite, which is located on the first floor of Holland Hall, provides the space they need to holistically provide international students the support they need.

“We can now better serve our international population whether they be international education, study abroad or

international students and scholars services or the new Intensive English Center,” he said.

The OIA Office has designated meditation areas where students can pray and continue to observe their culture, as well as a conference room where study abroad workshops can be held.

“Our function here is to help those incoming international students understand the historically black college and university culture, and to share their culture on a global level with the existing student base here that doesn’t get to do the study abroad.”

Daniel Bernal, an MBA student from Bogota, Columbia, said that as a transfer student, OIA helped him make a smooth transition to TSU.

“When I came here it felt more like home, and I have done well with the help of the international office,” he said. “They are very helpful compared to my previous university, so everything got taken care of.”

Bernal, a former member of the TSU Men’s Tennis Team, is the second player in the university’s history to earn All-OVC recognition, joining Lawrence Washington, who was also a Second Team All-OVC honoree in 2012. He said the academic environment at TSU has been nurturing and supportive.

“The classroom sizes are not as big compared to bigger universities, so you get more attention,” he said.

Shashamk Nautiyal, a graduate student in Sports Medicine from New Delhi, India, who was recruited to play tennis at TSU, said he also likes the academic environment at the university.

“In any department, they take care of you. They make sure they help you with whatever you need, either academic or personal or even professional. I think that is the most valuable thing,” he said. “They make sure they provide the best learning environment for you to make sure you succeed in your college career.’

Brinkley said International Week 2018 will conclude on the Avon Williams Campus with a cultural celebration and family night that will include a puppet show and international cuisines.


Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.


For more information about International Education Week 2018, contact (615) 963-5640.