Exchange students celebrate Minnesota experiences

The students invited friends and host families to a party with Middle-Eastern foods, music and culture.

The University of MinnesotaâÄôs Office of International Programs held a farewell and appreciation gathering for 20 North African exchange students that are departing Wednesday. The event brought together about 60 people, made up of the international students, their host families with which each spent a weekend and any other friends the students made while in Minnesota. The students were here as a part of the Study of the United States Institutes , an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State . Guests spent time crowded around the various middle-eastern foods prepared for the event while their new North African friends described the foods. The students also wore clothing from their home countries The students came from five countries âÄî Tunisia , Egypt, Algeria , Morocco and Libya âÄî and each student represented their home country by putting on a presentation for the audience. The presentation on Tunisia made the crowd clap and laugh as two students performed regional dance and song. Tonight was originally planned to entail a celebratory end-of-program cruise, but the students decided to move it one night earlier for the opportunity to spend the last night with their new friends. âÄúThey really wanted to thank everybody in the community,âÄù said Meeka Urlaub , coordinator for short term programs at the Office of International Programs.