Tamnnet Kidanu is originally from Minnesota, but her family originates from Ethiopia. Now a graduate assistant at the International House (I-House) of UT, she and other graduate assistant Maria Lungu wanted to be a part of “International Coffeehouse,” a weekly program that focuses on international countries that is both fun and educational.

The event takes place on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Mary E. Greer room of Hodges Library at the I-House, and invites students to enjoy free coffee, tea and food from a different international country. Along with free food and beverages, the Coffeehouse gives students a relaxed atmosphere to meet new friends and learn about new cultures.

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, Kidanu was able to shed light on her family’s culture as the Coffeehouse focused on Ethiopia.

Ethiopian music played as students lined up for authentic sambusa, a fried pastry with a vegetarian or beef filling, catered by Gosh, an Ethiopian restaurant located on Sutherland Ave.

Kidanu believes that because the Coffeehouse focuses on programming the event for students, they are able to make the educational experience fun.

“Even though this is only two hours a week, it gives people the opportunity to hang out and talk to each other,” she said.

Kidanu’s goals for the Coffeehouse go beyond just networking students, but also networking with companies around the area.

She hopes to “develop a partnership with more ethnic restaurants” to provide students “the rare opportunity” to eat free, authentic foreign foods instead of choosing the same campus fast food restaurant.

Student volunteers help with events such as cooking demonstrations, culture nights, and Coffeehouse’s, and are staying busy this week with different International Education Week events. International Education Week events will wrap up Friday with the International Fest.

Volunteers can sign up to be in charge of different week’s Coffeehouse, although Lungu and Kidanu attend every other Wednesday.

Lungu said that I-House volunteers are comprised both of graduate and undergraduate, international and American students alike.

Source: Tennessee Journalist 
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