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### Uniting International Students: The Jayhawk Festival Initiative

Update your passports for a burst of culture at the eighth annual International Jayhawk Festival on April 17 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Burge Union.

The event, a joint effort between the University’s Study Abroad program and International Support Services, aims to celebrate the rich tapestry of cultures and nations that form the University of Kansas.

Michelle Ward, the study abroad coordinator, highlighted that the International Jayhawk Festival serves as a platform for international students to connect with peers, explore various clubs, and foster a sense of community. She emphasized that the event is inclusive, welcoming both domestic and international students.

This year, more than 40 student groups, academic departments, and campus organizations will present intercultural activities, performances, and trivia. Attendees will have the chance to engage with study-abroad advisors, delve into program discussions, and delve into international career prospects.

The University boasts a diverse student body representing over 100 countries, with a plethora of 150+ study-abroad programs available for aspiring students to choose from.

The focal point of this event is to shine a spotlight on international students while showcasing the University as a premier destination for undergraduate study abroad and a trailblazer in foreign language studies.

“We have a vibrant global community here at KU,” Ward expressed. “Our goal is to create an environment where everyone can embrace cultural learning and feel a sense of belonging.”

Exciting offerings at the festival include complimentary t-shirts for the first 400 attendees, enticing door prizes, delectable food, and captivating performances.

Noteworthy student groups participating in the event comprise Jayhawks for Afghanistan, Språkbordet KU—Scandinavian Language & Culture Club, Association of Indian Students, and more, showcasing a diverse array of cultural representations.

To bolster the student groups’ presence at the festival, alumna Christine Pederson initiated $200 Pederson Global Grants, benefiting 10 participating student groups by supporting their respective tables or events.

Among the grant recipients is Språkbordet KU – Scandinavian Language & Culture Club, founded by Matthew Trimble, a fourth-year accounting major, in collaboration with peers from Norway.

Trimble expressed their club’s intent to utilize the grant for procuring event supplies, crafting presentations, and organizing engaging activities at their booth. The club also plans to host a raffle to garner interest and promote inclusivity.

Ward envisions that initiatives like the Pederson Global Grants underscore the University’s tangible support for its international student community.

In addition to the student groups, various University departments will be present at the festival, offering a wealth of information and resources for attendees.

For individuals considering studying abroad, regional coordinators will be available to provide insights into the diverse programs offered by the University.

Victoria Garcia Unzueta, the study abroad and global communications coordinator, highlighted the festival as an excellent opportunity for students to explore the myriad study-abroad programs available across different majors.

The International Jayhawk Festival will not only feature informational tables but also captivating performances every 15 minutes. Attendees can look forward to diverse performances by local groups, student organizations, and visiting scholars, along with a vibrant fashion show showcasing traditional attire from various countries such as India, Japan, China, and more.