The world's cultures were available for exploration Tuesday evening at Nutter Field House on Fort Leonard Wood during the 12th annual Know Your World Reception.
The event, which was sponsored by the post's International Military Student Office (IMSO), featured more than 40 countries. International military students from locations ranging from Albania to Uruguay were on hand to answer questions about their homes and offer culinary delights from their native cuisine.
Charlie Rogers, chief of the IMSO, said it's always a delight to host the Know Your World event.
"The event is to introduce the public, the community, the post and everyone, to the international soldiers that we have here," he said.
Each year, hundreds of international military members take courses at Fort Leonard Wood and experience the American way of life and the U.S. military.
"Our minimum amount is 450 (international soldiers) per year, and we've had a maximum of 600 (soldiers) in one year," Rogers added.
He urged the public to take advantage of the event and learn about the different cultures.
One local resident doing just that was Ryan Hogshooter, who brought his three sons, Daniel, Lukas and Aaron, to the event.
"We thought it would be a great learning opportunity," Ryan explained. "It's educational."
Brian Jungen, who brought his son Nicholas, echoed those sentiments.
"I try to come every year," he said. "It's just fun to see all the nationalities and their cultures."
Throughout Nutter Field House, each international military student set up a table with information about their home country. They were available to answer questions from the public and many brought samples of food.
Ankica Zlatic, a Croatian first lieutenant, said she was happy to present a picture of her home to the Americans stopping by her table. She arrived at Fort Leonard Wood about two months ago and will stay here until December, taking part in the Captain's Career Course.
Zlatic said this is her first visit to the United States.
"I love it so far," she said. "I'm very surprised at how friendly people are."
Zlatic took the time to hand out fritules, a pastry similar to a donut, to visitors who stopped by to speak to her. She also presented fun facts about Croatia to the children and spoke about her home country's natural beauty.
"We are the guys who invited the tie," she said, pointing to a picture of a necktie for the children who stopped by her table, before telling visitors about the many beaches of Croatia and the beautiful coastline.
Throughout the evening, similar scenes took place throughout the building, as international service members presented their country's history, geography and contributions to the world, at the reception.
Rogers said the annual event also gives residents the opportunity to learn more about becoming a host family for visiting international military members. Military students do not live with host families, but do take part in special events, like barbeques or dinners with their hosts, which help them learn about America.
For additional information about hosting an international military student, contact the IMSO office.