How My University Dormitory Kitchen Made Me a Global Citizen

imagesA dormitory kitchen and being a global citizen, how do they relate? Keep calm and read along. Oftentimes, I have been asked by some friends that, “why do I still live in the university dorm?” My answer has always been concise “I want to learn”. You want to learn or you can’t afford staying in an apartment, they asked? Well, I want to learn and forget about the financial stress of staying in an apartment.

What do you want to learn from there? After all, it’s just a bunch of untidy, disturbing, no privacy place to live. And you know what? They will never understand.

My dormitory is a 5 story building. Each floor has 20 rooms with a general kitchen for all students to do their cooking. That’s big number, huh? Yes, you can say that again.

In my university dorm, there are many nationalities from different continents living there. But, how do I know our differences and what we have in common? The answer is—the dormitory kitchen. Yes, you heard me well. I couldn’t say it better than that.

The dormitory kitchen is a place I can’t avoid because I have to cook and eat.  At least, I cook 3-4 times a week as I do share the responsibility of cooking with my roommate. So, whenever it’s my turn to cook there are also other students cooking in the dorm kitchen, too. This makes cooking more fun.

While in the kitchen I could see many pots on the gas stove and this question always comes along “what are you cooking?” It’s just like I am seeing the whole world at once cooking their favorite food. How Nigerians cook is different from how Turkmens or Moroccans cook, but we all have one thing in common which is cooking. There is no country where cooking is not part of their culture.

The most interesting part of it is when after we’ve finished cooking then we share it among each other. I never believed that people can be this generous. I have tasted different foods that I had never imagined in my life. The smile while giving you their food in order to have the taste of their culture even when you say, “no” they still insist with pleading to have a taste of it. I don’t know anything better than that.

The Moroccans have their kind of pot for cooking. I had thought the whole world cook in the same pot, but I was wrong. All the Moroccans I have met cook in their Tajine clay pot. They brought it along from their country which means they cherish their culture and they want other people to know about it, too.

With my 5 years of cooking in my dorm kitchen, I’ve garnered a lot of experiences and I’ve learned so much about other nationalities. I’ve been more tolerant, less judgmental, and friendlier; I’ve become a good listener, more humble, impartial, and also recognizing my own lens of seeing other people.

Is there any other thing that supersedes the trait of a global citizen other than the above mentioned qualities? I doubt it. Yes, I am a global citizen, I possess these qualities and my dorm kitchen has made it possible.

-MOAB © 2014


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