This past weekend was great for Goshen College, as we celebrated the International Student Club coffeehouse and International Women’s Day.

The coffeehouse gives us the opportunity to experience various cultures in an informal setting. It is also a chance for us to enjoy some home cooking. International students are asked to prepare a traditional dish from their respective countries.

As both a woman and an international student, it was a great day for me. It was one of the days that I was looking forward to celebrating. Fortunately, we were able to celebrate both holidays. It is a great experience to see all the people from different cultural backgrounds come together.

Most of the international students, including myself, want to share the meaningful things from our home culture, which makes the coffeehouse a big day for all international students (it is also a time to calm down for the students who have been homesick).

It is an event where we see the similarities and differences of cultures. It is satisfying to see the community enjoy the food and the show and gain some knowledge about the cultures represented at Goshen College. In addition to sharing a meal, it is a night to share a little about ourselves as well.

I really enjoyed seeing all the traditional clothes – items that hold a lot of meaning for us. Everyone could look around Sauder Concert Hall and notice all of the beautiful and unique faces of the people from different countries.

The great thing about Goshen College is that we value diversity, because it cherishes the differences in the college community. Keep in mind that it is not our differences that make us part of the college. Instead, it is the acceptance of our differences and also the love that we receive from Jesus that binds us. His love gives us the ability to welcome the differences.

On Sunday, the day after the coffeehouse, ending discrimination of gender, race, violence and injustice led the women to celebrate International Women’s Day. It was a day to stand for the women in the world, and celebrate the  achievements of women – a time for women to be outspoken concerning the national and international problems which have been destructive to the well-being of women which affect all human beings.

The voices of college women are also being heard, as they defined being a woman in 2009 and their goals for 2009. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we should remind ourselves that women have to be liberated to create a civil society.

Saron Getaneh is a junior sociology major and women’s studies minor from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.