Since 2014, Gettysburg College has hosted an annual student-led event called Burgburst. The tradition celebrates culture through food and dynamic global performances. This year, Burgburst was particularly special for the community, as Gettysburg celebrated its largest cohort of international students in the institution’s 190-year history: 186 students from nearly 50 countries.
Hear from students who participated in Burgburst 2022—those who organized the event, represented their countries in the Flag Walk, and attended the beloved tradition—about why it is important to them.
1. We learn about and show appreciation for other cultures.
Harrison Moore ’23 happily attended Burgburst this December. He explained, “It’s easy to be in a bubble and not realize how much diversity there is here.” Moore believes that this event provides an ideal forum for the broader College community to honor this diversity firsthand.
“Burgburst reminds international students that their culture is appreciated,” added Esther Tejevbo ’26, an international student from Nigeria who experienced the winter event for the first time. “I really loved celebrating all of the cultures.”
Salmin Mwinjuma ’25 noted how he is one of two international students this year from Tanzania. He was most excited for the Flag Walk—a celebratory parade where students showcase the flags of their home countries on stage. “I am very proud to be representing my country and to have walked with my flag in the Flag Walk.”
2. We gather in unity as one campus community.
“Burgburst is an event to bring together international students with everyone from the College,” said Quentin Yang ’24. Yang, an international student from Shanghai, was part of the team of students that organized and planned the event in the past. “We try to do something new each year,” Yang said. This year, Burgburst’s theme focused on global landmarks.
“I love seeing people in different clothes and seeing people come together after the pandemic,” said Mwinjuma. “This is all more than just representing our cultures.”
Brad Lancaster, the director of International Student Services, took the stage at the beginning of the event to say that this year’s Burgburst was not only a way to celebrate our students, but to make a difference across our community.
In total, nearly 100 students from diverse backgrounds joined together over the course of the fall semester to bring Burgburst to life. In the process, Gettysburg students formed genuine intercultural friendships that will endure well beyond the event itself.
3. We help international students feel at home.
The Office of International Student Services works to create an inclusive learning environment by encouraging events such as Burgburst, as well as assisting international students with advising, immigration support, advocacy, and more.
Tejevbo explained that her transition to the United States was challenging, but that Gettysburg traditions like Burgburst have made adjusting to college a lot smoother. “It is not easy to leave a country and leave our families,” she said. “Now I feel like part of the community.”
“I feel like I belong here,” added Vy Tran ’25, an international student from Vietnam. Prakriti Thapa ’26, a fellow international student from Nepal, echoed both Tejevbo and Tran, saying that Burburst helps international students feel at home at Gettysburg College. “It all means so much. I am so grateful to be a part of this event.”
“People know who we [international students] are from this,” said Tabitha Rozario ’26, a first-year student from Bangladesh. “This lets everyone know who I am and where I have come from.”
A variety of cultural clubs on campus also are invited to take part in Burgburst. This year, organizations such as the Black Student Union, The Butterfly Coalition, the Latin American Students’ Association (LASA), and more had their own tables in the College Union Building Ballroom, where the ceremony takes place. Isaias Martinez ’23 worked at the LASA table and expressed how much he values Burgburst, saying, “Knowing Gettysburg’s position as a predominantly white institution, highlighting spaces for people of marginalized backgrounds can help students feel safe.”
4. We enjoy delicious food from around the world.
A big part of Burgburst is the amazing food! In addition to having meals catered by authentic regional restaurants, Gettysburg students often create their own favorite dishes, offering the community a flavor of their home countries. Attendees of the event have the opportunity to go around the room, explore new foods, and eat delicious cuisine cooked by Gettysburg students themselves. “We were up from 6 p.m. last night until 5 a.m. this morning cooking,” Rozario said with pride.
Yang elaborated that his table cooked Chinese snacks in more traditional ways, while utilizing ingredients accessible in the United States.
While it is always difficult for students to narrow down the list of their favorite Burgburst meal options, a number of students expressed agreement that butter chicken, lamb, rice, and spring rolls were among the top dishes at this year’s event.
“I love that we get to make food that people enjoy,” said Twah Tampa ’26, an international student from Liberia.
5. We celebrate talent and difference at Gettysburg College.
“I feel so pretty today,” exclaimed Rozario at the event, pointing to the saree she was wearing. Many students at Burgburst celebrate their culture by wearing customary garments to highlight the clothing they love or to teach other Gettysburg students about their county’s traditional attire.
Dr. Eloísa Gordon-Mora, Gettysburg’s College’s new chief diversity officer since August, enjoyed connecting with students and partaking in the festivities. She expressed gratitude to attend her first Burgburst. “I am so impressed by the richness and beauty of our diverse students,” she said. “Students here are so eloquent and smart, and this makes me feel even more excited about being here at Gettysburg and meeting everyone.”
Read a reflection from Ratul Rauniar Pradhan ’25 on his Burgburst experience last winter.
View the gallery from Burgburst 2022
By Cameron Jury ’23
Photos by McKenna White ’25