MANKATO — When Brianna Scholz tastes sawaiyan, a dessert from Pakistan, she said the noodles in sweet milk tasted like shredded wheat.
Scholz, 6, was one of about 50 area Girl Scouts who experienced other countries through international students from Minnesota State University on Sunday afternoon. The opportunity was part of Girl Scouts of the United States of America’s “World Thinking Day.”
The day, which is annually Feb. 22, is marked by events to help scouts learn about other parts of the world.
“The event exposes them to things they don’t normally get exposed to in everyday life,” said Jessica Henrichs, an event coordinator for the region’s Girl Scouts.
Henrichs contacted MSU, which led to seven students from Pakistan, Niger, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Thailand gave the girls insight into their homelands. The students, at MSU for one semester, are part of the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program through the U.S. State Department. That program requires the students to be cultural ambassadors and share information about their countries with Americans.
The girls got henna tattoos like Pakistani girls, learned that Kyrgyz people like horse milk and made a paper flower crown like the real flower crowns worn in Ukraine by unmarried women.
Rose Miller, 10, said she wants to visit Kyrgyzstan and is willing to try the horse milk, known as kymyz, but between that and tea, she’d drink “probably tea.”
Her mother, Victoria, is a troop leader and has led World Thinking Day events for the troop in the past, but was excited to see the opportunity to hear from international students this year instead.
“It gives the girls a sense of stepping outside their own bubble,” she said.
Another troop leader, Christine Newville, said teaching about other cultures is a priority for Girl Scouts because “diversity of all different cultures is more widespread than when we were growing up.”
Isabelle Juliar, 8, said she didn’t know much about Pakistan before the event. But she said she had fun and her henna tattoo was “awesome.”