Students get a taste of new cultures

By Melanie Greenberg
February 14, 2012

A sample of spicy sushi from H Mart in Upper Darby that students were able to try. (credit: Melanie Greenberg / Managing Editor )

Any student looking for something to do off-campus only needs to stop by the Wolfington Center on the third floor of Founder’s Hall. Each month, staff members of the Wolf Center look for new ways to get Cabrini students involved in the community outside of Radnor.

Stephen Eberle, interim director of the Wolfington Center, and missioner Roxanne De La Torre have developed a new program called “Cabrini in the Community,” to introduce students to different cultural experiences in the surrounding areas.

“Since I’m new [to Cabrini] this year, I wondered why students didn’t leave campus and travel into Philadelphia or Norristown,” De La Torre said. “I was constantly wanting to go to the city and see new things.”

Eberle and De La Torre developed excursion trips during the fall semester. After taking the Wolfington Center student workers to an authentic Mexican restaurant in Norristown as a thank-you dinner in December, a new idea sparked.

“Stephen always said eating different foods from different places helps us get to know other cultures,” De La Torre said. “We can understand what they eat regularly due to what they have available by eating their authentic cuisine.”

The excursion trips do not limit the experiences to foods; a trip to the Philadelphia Mosaic Gardens, a folk art environment, gallery space and nonprofit organization that showcases the work of mosaicist Isaiah Zagar, is in the works for later this month.

Students who have never been involved in Wolfington Center events have shown interest in the new food experiences.

“I think eating a meal together is a great bonding experience and tends to make people a lot more comfortable with each other,” Alicia Totten, freshman graphic design major, said. “I love the trips with the Wolfington Center because I meet people I otherwise probably wouldn’t meet, or at least not until later.”

On Tuesday, Eberle and De La Torre took five students to Upper Darby to taste Asian cuisine. The un-Americanized Asian dishes proved to be an experience for Ryan Luquet, freshman exercise science major, who participated in last month’s Ethiopian excursion trip.

“Eating the Ethiopian food was a different experience because there are no utensils, you use your hands to eat, which is not something that we always find appropriate here,” Luquet said. “Ethiopian food uses a lot of beef and spices, while Asian food has a lot of seafood. It just shows that two cultures can have completely different ideas when it comes to a meal, mainly based on their geography.”

Food has brought together different groups of people to learn more about not only the global culture found in our backyard, but also the different types of people living only across campus.

“The food has been great every time but I definitely liked the atmosphere at Era, the Ethiopian place, much better,” Totten said. “It was very small and cozy  with a mural on the wall and definitely allowed us to get much more comfortable with each other. We actually spent a long time talking even after our meal was over.”

Based on their knowledge of Philadelphia and the holidays that may be occurring that month, Eberle and De La Torre choose authentic restaurants to take students to broaden their taste buds and global knowledge about other cultures. The two are hoping to do an Irish cuisine night for March but are really looking for the overall cultural experience of folk and Irish history.

“We are hoping to draw the students involved in the dinners to get them to experience the non-food excursions to experience the great cultural areas nearby,” De La Torre said. “It’s great having students we know and are involved in our programs but we really enjoy getting new people involved and introduced to their own peers.”

For more information on how to participate in these events, contact Roxanne De La Torre at


DiBartolo, Greenberg, De La Torre, Totten, Eberle and Luquet enjoy a new dining experience. (credit: Submitted by Matt Doyle)


Eberle uses chopsticks like a professional while sharing his knowledge of sushi with first-time sushi eaters. (credit: Melanie Greenberg / Managing Editor)

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Melanie Greenberg

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