By: Dr. Aakriti Tandon
The Offices of Global Programs and Housing & Residence Life jointly sponsored a student panel on Coming to America on November 19, 2013, to honor International Education Week at Daemen College. The panel was moderated by Dr. Aakriti Tandon, Assistant Professor of Political Science in the History & Political Science Department, and organized by Daemen student Pasang Sherpa. A wide range of countries were represented by the panelists, who included Carla Hernandez (Mexico), Zahra Nayyeri (Iran), Sonam Sherpa (Nepal), Elvira Zaykova (Ukraine), Amie Dukuray (Zimbabwe), Kimberley Maende (Kenya), Tsering Choedon (Tibet), and Johanes Tacastacas (Philippines).
|Panelists Elvira Zaykova, Amie Dukuray, Sonan Sherpa, and Kimberley Maende, with Dr. Aakriti Tandon. (Photo courtesy of Pasang Sherpa.)|
|Panelists & some of the audience members at the "Coming to America" event|
Almost all the panelists concurred that their family, relatives and friends back home felt that they were rich because they lived in America. Sitcoms and Hollywood movies had led them all to believe that America was the land of the rich where "money grows on trees," to use an old cliche. The panelists had often been asked to bring back expensive gifts, symbols of American capitalism. Carla Hernandez, a History major and Pre-law minor, explained that she always brought back keychains from the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State building for her family and friends in Mexico. She also stressed that people in Mexico don't all "wear sombreros" or "eat tacos." The country has a rich variety of food and people, and she would like to share these experiences with her classmates. Opportunities like this enable students to enhance their college experience. The panelists expressed concern about how many Americans know very little about many countries in the world and stressed the need for education in global history and geography.
(For more information about study abroad opportunities, please contact Ms. Sophia Ng of the Global Programs Office.)