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The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

Celebrating Cultures at MATC’s Oak Creek Campus

Photo by Erica Galindo
All of the Oak Creek Campus community came together to celebrate different cultures at International Day.

MATC’s Oak Creek students, faculty and staff had an opportunity to travel around the globe on Thursday without ever leaving campus. It was all part of the first-ever International Day that celebrated different cultures. ESL (English as a Second Language) students hosted tables and talked about their native countries. While similar events may have been held in the past, this is the first time in many years that the Oak Creek Campus has organized such an event on campus.

The campus appeared to be excited about the event. ESL Instructor Lisa Fabian-Albert said, “A few instructors spoke with me in the hallways to tell me that their students were going to come to the event because knowledge of other cultures would be very helpful for future firefighters and police officers.”

The ESL students showcased their traditional clothing, delicious foods, native music and customs. Some also discussed the challenges of war, and all of the table hosts provided a glimpse into the rich tapestry of their culture. Students also had hands-on activities, like henna designs and tea ceremonies to make it a more immersive experience for attendees.

Fabian-Albert says the students “have been working on this project for over a month now. They needed to write compositions on their countries that included information about their food, dances, climate, holidays, sports, etc. We focused on the compositions in their reading/writing classes.”

In addition, the students worked on short speeches about their native countries in their oral communication classes. Fabian-Albert said, “Many of the ESL instructors took their classes to the library where Jenn Medved, our head librarian, had her student workers assist the ESL students in locating information about their countries. There is a beautiful MakersSpace where the students could use a machine that would design and make their countries’ flags. They also found books about their countries, and learned how to print photos using Pixabay and the color copiers in the library.”

MATC Oak Creek Student Life Coordinator Margaret Dishaw says the turnout for the event was “great.” “This is a good window when students are in-between classes and getting lunch,” she said and that is when more students are able to connect. Dishaw enjoys collaborating and bringing the MATC community together, and she thought this event was an excellent way to do so “because a lot of the students are so proud of their countries, I thought what a great way of really connecting everyone together.”

Fabian-Albert is hopeful it made an impact. “I hope the other students at MATC will interact with the ESL students, learn more about their cultures, become more understanding about their cultures, and be able to interact with them freely and feel comfortable.”

It is hoped that this event brought the campus community closer together through cultural exchange and mutual respect.

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