International Festival

Students share their culture with the public during Florida Institute of Technology's 'International Festival.' The festival returns this year on Feb. 16.

BREVARD COUNTY — The Florida Institute of Technology has a lot to celebrate this year. Not only does 2019 mark 61 years of education and research, Florida Tech has the honor of being listed as the No. 1 national university for international diversity, according to its website.

The public is invited to attend Florida Tech’s 13th annual International Festival from noon to 5 p.m. next Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Panther Plaza, 150 W. University Blvd., Melbourne.

In case of rain, the International Festival will be moved to the Clemente Center on campus.

“The event is just breathtaking because on the day of the event you have international flags from around the world displayed, you have all the students in their national clothing, and it’s a free family event,” said Debbie Matta, manager of international student programs at Florida Tech’s Office of International Student and Scholar Services.

The event will feature food vendors, crafts, song and dance by multiple student organizations. The International Festival will take attendees on a trip around the world with cultural displays from Africa to Korea and Saudi Arabia to Taiwan.

There will be plenty of children’s activities ranging from educational to relaxing. Children can participate in a Passport to the World program or jump around in some bounce houses.

“For the younger school-aged children, we give them a passport so they can go booth to booth,” Mrs. Matta said. “Children meet with a college student to learn about where they’re from and a little bit about their country. They then get a stamp and at the end of the day, children show their completed passport to receive a prize.”

Groups scheduled to perform will include TWITCHY, Florida Tech’s all-faculty rock band; the Shik Shak Belly Dance club; swing dance club; accordion music by Klaus Kolb and more.

Food vendors participating in this year’s festival include ARC’s Ice Cream Truck, Hazel’s Caribbean Restaurant, Habanero Grill Mexican Restaurant, Taal Indian Restaurant, Le Crave serving French-style crepes, La Estancia Colombian Restaurant, Bangkok Thai Restaurant, Old School Pizza and Falafel Stop Mediterranean Restaurant.

“Here at Florida Tech, we celebrate the diversity of our student population,” Mrs. Matta said. “Here in the city of Melbourne, our community welcomes these international students every year. I hear from many students that they love life here. They may come from a huge city in Asia or a small village in Africa, but wherever they are from, Melbourne quickly becomes home.”

For more information, call (321) 674-8053 or visit www.fit.edu.

Associate Managing Editor

I have been a Viera resident for 15 years and a writer my whole life. I love to travel when the opportunity presents itself, as well as try new things.

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