Pass the plate

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UNC's Center for International Education treated students to a buffet of ramen on Tuesday (The Mirror/Mary Harbert)

Ramen. College students may be very familiar with the dish. The savory noodles are an easy meal to make when a study marathon takes place. But beyond microwaveable cups of noodles, ramen holds greater significance in Asian cuisine. For those only familiar with Maruchan noodle packets on finals week to those who consider the meal a taste of home, “Swag Your Ramen” provided a buffet on Tuesday for the UNC community to try new ingredients in the dish.

At 5 p.m., attendees lined up in the University Center Fireside Lounge. After receiving a bowl of noodles, attendees chose either a beef or chicken seasoning packet. Then the table of toppings was laid out for their choosing. Toppings included: tofu, seaweed, celery, carrots, corn, peanuts, ginger, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, dried chow mein noodles, wasabi peas and popped rice clusters. There were additional condiments and seasoning like duck sauce and cayenne pepper.

Allie Wille, an event coordinator for the Center for International Education, helped to plan the events for its International Education Week, which provides support and information for incoming and outgoing students who are studying abroad.

“Our goal for International Education Week is to celebrate the benefits of international exchange,” Wille said. “‘Swag Your Ramen’ is a social event to promote conversations about differences in ramen across the world and to promote shared, positive experiences among diverse cultures.”

According to Wille, “Swag Your Ramen” has been an annual event for this week since at least 2011.

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Joanna Walsh was also an event coordinator for this event. She lived in Turkey, but grew up in Longmont for part of her life. Living in Colorado and her father being an UNC alumnus led her to attending UNC today.

“I grew up overseas and I think it is important to promote international education and cultural awareness,” Walsh said. “I mean, I love international students and I know what it feels like. I want them to be welcome here.”

CIE provides services for both students attending UNC from abroad or leaving to study abroad. These services include information about its programs as well as the Intensive English Program for further tutoring. CIE hosts culture nights as well as the ambassador program, which pairs international students with domestic students.

The week has already hosted its keynote speaker, Karen Barton a doctoral geographer at UNC, who presented a case study on Africa’s largest shipwreck. At a separate event, Cira Mathis, the associate director of the Office of Sponsored Programs, talked about living abroad and working at a university in Saudia Arabia.

UNC’s CIE will host a presentation by Nancy Matchett, the chair of UNC’s philosophy department, at 9 a.m. on Nov. 16 about assistive reproductive technologies around the world. Immediately after, John Ramsey, a UNC philosophy professor, will discuss the Confucian philosopher Mengzi at 10 a.m. Brunch will be provided.

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