Over 30 students gathered in the meeting room of Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) of
Francis Marion University (FMU) on Nov. 8 to experience both local and foreign cuisine.
Courtney Buckner, a senior majoring in early childhood education, helped organize the
International Potluck. Buckner, who serves as a fellowship leader for BCM, said that she and a
fellow leadership member got the idea for the activity while talking to some of the international
students at a movie night held by BCM earlier in the semester.
“Kenza, Jill and Sabrina were talking about how they wanted to experience American
culture, so me and Katie Mitchell thought it would be a good idea to have a dinner where they
got to taste traditional southern dishes,” Buckner said.
Buckner explained that students who participate in BCM were invited to prepare traditional
southern dishes for the international students to sample. International students were invited to
bring dishes from their home countries as well, and Buckner said that any students who had
traveled abroad were welcome to bring a dish from the country they had visited. The event was
free and open to students of FMU and Florence Darlington Technical College.
Stefanie Mūller, a graduate student studying
international marketing management, is visiting
from the Ludwigshafen University of Applied Science in Germany.
Mūller prepared and brought
her native country’s version of potato salad which included cucumbers and onions.
Mūller said she had heard about the potluck from the other international students at FMU.
“I enjoyed meeting all the new people, and I really liked the dessert with the banana
[pudding],” Mūller said.
Buckner said that the international students who attended the potluck were from Germany,
France, Morocco and Norway. Dishes prepared from some of these countries included German
meatballs and salmon and meat pies from France.
Among the dishes prepared by students from FMU were macaroni and cheese, lasagna and
peach cobbler. Katie Mitchell, junior secondary English education major and BCM leadership
member, had studied abroad for a semester in Ireland and prepared traditional Shepherd’s pie for
The dinner also held a surprise for two of the international students. Buckner baked a
chocolate cake to celebrate their birthdays.
“Sabrina is from Germany and Kenza is from Morocco, yet their birthdays are only a few
days apart,” Buckner said. “So we hid the cake in the back and got a group of girls to sing them
‘Happy Birthday.’ It totally caught them off guard.”
When everyone was finished eating, Buckner said they all hung out for a while and played
cards and board games.
According to Buckner, this event was a success considering it had never been done by BCM
before. Buckner says she already has a plan for next year’s International Potluck.
“I really want to have it available to all the international students, so I am going to try to team
up with Dr. Tuttle and all the athletic coaches to get the word out,” Buckner said.