Last Wednesday, March 14 through Saturday, March 17, International Student Services hosted International Week in celebration of the many cultures represented by its undergraduate and graduate students. During the week, students were able to participate in different activities that featured various cultures, spanning the Aztecs to the Germans.
Office Manager of International Center Sophie Healy, Director of International Student Services Marilyn White, Events and Communications Coordinator Margaret Illingworth, College of
Business Enrollment Manager Nisha Mathews, and President of International Students Association Abdulla Valakundil all worked together to make International Week possible.
International Week started out as a celebration of the many cultures that were embraced by many of the different international students in the university. Over the years, different events from all over the world have been represented during International Week, involving elaborate platters of food, musical performances and even representation of the different types of clothing.
“These events depend a lot on what the students want to have,” Illingworth said. “We try to set a good balance of everything.”
International Week began with an Aztec dance performance that allowed the students to see a typical Aztec dance as well as learn a few steps and try traditional aguas frescas (flavored water) and Chocolatl (traditional chocolate).
“We had chocolate with South American flovors and aguas frescas,” Healy said. “We just had different things that represented the Mexican culture culinarily.” In addition to that event, we had Chinese line dancers on Thursday and a wine and cheese festival with cheese from about twelve different countries.”
Before the Chinese line dancers preformed, a food festival was held, which included cultural performances and carnival games. The week continued with an Indian culture celebration on Friday, with a traditional Holi paint party event, representing the celebration of spring through different colors. After a biergarten with international and domestic beer on Friday afternoon, the week was concluded with an International Mass on Saturday in which students were encouraged to wear their international dress and read different blessings and petitions in their native language.
Although the week was held in order to celebrate the different cultures represented around campus, the undergraduate international population consists of fewer than 30 students and the graduate population of about 150.
“The [international undergraduates] tend to be more of an American style type of educated student,” White said. “However, [International Week] is always successful in getting the international students engaged in the different activities. It is a good opportunity for them to get involved with their own culture on campus.”
This event was well- attended and participation from everyone on campus was encouraged, according to White.
“This week is an educational, cultural and social event,” White said. “We want to celebrate the different ethnicities, cultures, while providing the students the opportunity […] to celebrate their own cultures.”