Tuesday, Jan. 26 marked this year’s third Identity Forum, a series of discussions about topics, issues and concerns for the Lawrence community about multiculturalism and diversity. Fourteen audience members made for a responsive audience as the six panelists talked about their experiences with culture shock, the topic of Tuesday’s forum. “It’s important to continue to educate, connect and continue channeling diversity on our campus,” said Pa Lee Moua, assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs and organizer of the Identity Forum. Moua continued, “The Identity Forum serves many purposes to help break down barriers, create social interaction, and build a more inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.” The panel was comprised of Ranga Wimalasuriya from Sri Lanka, Kyu-po Pyun from South Korea, Aimen Khan from Pakistan, Slavena Molle from Bulgaria, Kofi Fosu from Michigan and Ghana, and John Jones from the Bronx, New York and Rose Wasielewski, diversity center programs coordinator. “There’s actually not much of a culture shock,” said Molle, starting off the forum. “Of course there are differences, but mainly in the little things.” Jones had a different outlook, saying, “My greatest culture shock came from moving to the Midwest. [My travels in] Europe, South America, those were okay. Here was just. wow, I didn’t know you could fry cheese.” The questions mainly revolved around differences in cultures and international perceptions of America. Most of the panelists said that they had completely different ideas of America before their first travels here. “My friends and I thought that it was all New York, and all the girls looked like Jessica Alba. So all my friends were jealous that I was going to this land of Jessica Alba,” said Pyun. Khan added, “Views of America in Pakistan are very different from what America actually is […] It’s not just this huge army invading Iraq and Afghanistan.” Most of the panelists felt that the misconceptions went both ways, however. “Some people have this idea in their head that Africa must be completely different,” said Fosu, “but I was surprised how much it was like America.” Molle added, “The good thing about studying abroad is that you learn a lot about your own culture as well as your host culture.” Jones summed up, saying, “One thing is that we’re all trying to figure out where we’re going in life. Everyone just wants to find what it is that makes them happy.” The next Identity Forum will be held Feb. 23, and will deal with the topic of “Race: the Face of Diversity.