I am Kelechi Ibn Anyaoha a.k.a Lopez, a.k.a Jin Mao, a.k.a Prakash, a.k.a Laurent, a.k.a Nakasaki…and a.k.a the President of Cranfield Students’ Association!

Nothing can be more enjoyable than experiencing the beauty of different languages, cultures and people from different parts of the world. Cranfield’s uniqueness is beyond its research culture; it goes way into the human heritage and diversity, and it adorns the landscape every day one steps into the university. From one end of the world to the opposite end, my daily interactions are about learning and experience beyond the classroom, office and laboratory work. Since 2014 I have been fortunate to meet students from more than 50% of the countries in the world and from every continent. I have learned from these colleagues what I believe no traveller can learn in a lifetime! It is only by the power of Cranfield experience. This February we at the CSA and the entire Cranfield University student community celebrate the richness, depth and beauty of Cranfield diversity. It is CSA International Week! From 13th – 18th February, 2017 we’ll all have the opportunity again to learn what makes the world a ‘home’.

My journey to Cranfield was my first time leaving the shores of Nigeria. The shock of missing my family I have lived with all my life and coming to spend the next three years of my life in the UK was overwhelming. But I did not arrive in England; I arrived in an “international space” within England where the first two students I met were from China and New Zealand. It actually took me a few days to meet an English student in England, as there are so many people from so many different countries here at Cranfield. Surrounded by people who understood what it means to leave home and travel somewhere new was exactly what I needed to adapt to the new society, country and (most annoyingly!) the cold.

I have learned to say “Hi” in almost all the widely spoken languages in the world. I have friends from many countries and each day I learn new things and understand how connected our world is. My life has been enriched beyond my imagination and I am not alone on this. You’ll hear a similar story from many international students.

As we continue at the CSA to keep to the tradition of celebrating Cranfield diversity, 2017 CSA International Week promises to be bigger and better, with activities slated from Monday 13 – Saturday 18 February at the CSA. Representatives from Ukraine, Sudan, China, Gambia, Mexico, Indonesia, Greece, Seri Lanka, France, Germany, Portugal, Poland, Nigeria, Egypt, Malaysia, Cyprus, UAE, Tchad, Taiwan, Canada, Chile, Lebanon, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad and Tobago, Libya, Catalonia, Italy, Turkey, Belgium, Iran, Monaco, USA, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, etc. are expected to take the Cranfield University community through to their cultural and traditional streets, enabling everyone to have the opportunity to see beyond the oceans and desert of spaces between Cranfield and the rest of the World.

On Monday 13th we celebrate the countries of Europe, North America, and Australia and New Zealand. It is the ‘Sounds of Europe’ with music and presentations, including those from Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Tuesday 14th is African/Caribbean day – the story behind traditional marriage in Nigeria and Yam Festival and the depth of Ghana, and Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. A hip-hop party will follow afterwards.

On Wednesday 15th we celebrate the North Africa/Middle Eastern countries – the story from Arabia.

Thursday 16th is for the countries from Asia – the dance steps of Uyghur people of China, the rich history of Myanmar people and the Japanese uniqueness, amongst others. The Rio Party follows on Friday the 17th as we celebrate the Latin American countries and South America.

Saturday 18th is the food festival and cultural display. French baguettes, German sausages, Indian spices, Italian pasta, Chinese fortune cookies, Sudanese crafts, Nigerian soup, etc. will be on offer.

I have been fortunate to enjoy International Week in the last two previous years and I can only highly recommend it to everyone!

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