Italy and South Africa are 5,000 miles apart, but at the annual international party hosted by the LL.M. class on Feb. 16, the countries were suddenly neighbors, with students from each country handing out their favorite traditional treats while dressed as gondoliers or rugby players.
Hundreds of students, faculty, staff and family members gathered in the Caspersen Student Center for a chance to immerse themselves in the cultures of their graduate student classmates, who hail from more than 70 countries. They filled their plates with dishes ranging from Chinese chicken feet and Australian Vegemite to Italian Nutella and Middle Eastern hummus.
“It’s really an opportunity for a lot of the LL.M. class, who feel like they’re here being hosted by Americans, to give back and host in return,” said Jennifer Chan, an LL.M. student from Vancouver, British Columbia, who helped organize this year’s party. “Everyone’s really proud to put on their cultural dress and prepare the foods that they love and miss from home.” The international party has been an annual event at the law school for more than a decade.
When graduate students returned home for the holidays in December, they made sure to load their suitcases with their favorite foods and ingredients, which they then had to resist for more than a month in order to save them for the international party.
For the J.D. students who also hail from other countries, the night provided an opportunity to reconnect to their homes.
“It’s nice to go to a table and see food from where you’re from,” said Valérie Duchesneau, a 2L from Montreal. “It makes you feel appreciated.”