From the depths of a foreign continent came the voices of three Ferris State University students who shared stories of their life in South Africa.
Students Lore Mmutle, Christopher Vosloo and Francois Vosloo discussed the exotic lifestyles of South Africans at Cultural Interaction: South Africa.
Mmutle said he enjoyed sharing his perspective on his homeland. He lived in South Africa for six years before moving to Illinois with his family. Now studying business as a sophomore, Mmutle explained how talking with someone from a different culture gives insight to another’s life.
“What might be obvious for you might not be obvious for someone from a different country,” Mmutle said. “A lot of people don’t get a chance to study abroad. I think talking to somebody who is from a foreign country gives you the chance to learn about their culture.”
Bridget Kroetsch, student founder of the semester long program, explained the meeting was designed for students interested in different countries or wanting to study abroad to ask questions and learn about the education, daily living and tourism in the specific country.
He explained how many people perceive Africa as one country, but in fact there are many countries within Africa that are completely different from each other. There are also various dialects throughout the continent.
Kroetsch believes it is important for students to be comfortable interacting with different cultures and designed the event as an open discussion rather than a lecture.
“Students that come to this event are students who are studying the language and are studying abroad. They come because it’s a way to ask one-on-one questions. I love that I can provide this opportunity for them,” Kroetsch said.
As a pre-veterinary major, C. Vosloo explained there is a lot of international business and individuals “should not be focused on just the culture here.” By attending events such as Cultural Interaction, he believes more people would be willing to “go out there and experience it.”
Still, even with free food and no admission cost, no more than ten students attended the event. C. Vosloo said he was excited to share information and wished more people attended.
“A lot of people don’t get to travel a lot and don’t think about traveling to other countries,” C. Vosloo said. “I’m always open to new cultures and their backgrounds. There’s lots of different stuff to know about.”
Throughout the spring 2011 semester, Kroetsch has hosted Cultural Interaction events with students from France, Germany, South Korea, Mexico and Spain.
“You go to all those meetings and you get a little taste of a different part of the world,” Vosloo said.
From more information about studying abroad or the Cultural Interaction events, contact the Office of International Education. Cultural Interaction events will be continued throughout the fall 2011