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Riverside, Calif. (Oct. 14, 2014) -- "We're amateurs," Beatriz Thomas, senior sociology major, said with a nervous chuckle as she realized she was eating with the wrong fork.

Every spilled grain of rice, momentary awkward silence and passing of bread was an opportunity for California Baptist University students to learn dining and professional etiquette.

The Career Center hosts a biannual Etiquette Dinner focusing on "which fork do I use" kind of dinner protocol while maintaining a countenance of professionalism.

Since last spring, Chelsea Royse, career counselor and internship coordinator, has been hosting the event to teach students proper dining behavior. 

"It's not just about what fork do you use," Royse said. "It's also about how to hold an appropriate conversation, how to converse with people, how to have purpose at a dinner and not just take the back seat."

The dinner is geared to preparing students for real life situations of dining with employers or potential ones.

"For a lot of students this is the first time they have been at a table with four forks and knifes," Royse said. "It's a safe environment to learn, because you can mess up and it's fine. They don't want to have their first experience being confused or embarrassed because they didn't know to put their napkin on their lap."

Students learned mingling tactics, how to use their knife and fork the American way and Continental way (it's how one holds them and uses them), tips for keeping a flow of constant conversations and even how to gracefully eat sushi. Though the students have to pay to attend, they left wishing to return and recreate the fun they had meeting new people and consuming good food.

"Come because it's fun," Royse said about future events. "You'll be surprised by how much you learn."​