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Admiring diversity from around the globe

International Club showcases customs and traditions of different countries

Caitlyn Nakatsukasa | Staff Writer

Western’s International Night aimed to break culture shocks and express the diversity of students from around the world. The event was hosted on May 11 by the International Club, an organization that promotes cultural awareness and fosters friendships with students from around the world.

“This club helps international and domestic students broaden their horizon and perspectives on cultures, individuality, and life,” said junior and International Club Vice President Berlyn Buncal. Buncal has been a member of the club since her first year at Western. “[Our purpose] is to share and let other students make friends with people they never thought they would click with too.”

Junior Faafili Papalii agreed, stating that, “the club is worldwide. It means that anyone can welcome to join and share with us.”

This is Papalii’s third year participating in the International Night as a dancer. “We help each other and the new students who need friends, directions and education,” said Papalii. “The club thinks that students are away from their families and they are far away from home, so International Club is home away from home.”

This annual event provides the audience with a wide scope of diverse cultures and acknowledges a variety of backgrounds.

International Night is about sharing different cultures with the university and the community at an evening,” said Buncal. She believes the event helps create visibility of the wide variety of international students attending Western. “It is where people from other parts of the world can feel at home. They get to see that there are other international [students] and share their culture, something that not many have the opportunity to do.”

The event had Arabic entertainment booths such as Henna artwork, samples of tea and treats, displays of handcrafted clothes and a person that wrote guest’s names in Arabic. It gave people the opportunity to explore the lifestyles of people from Saudi Arabia.

The dinner consisted of specialty dishes from around the globe, such as ye’abesha gomen from Ethiopia, beef bulgogi from South Korea, yakisoba noodles from Japan and vanillekipferl from Germany.

The entertainment portion of the event kicked off with a fashion show extravaganza that foreshadowed the upcoming performances. International Club members had the chance to show off traditional clothing from different countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Ghana and Thailand. Members had the opportunity to flaunt clothing from their own native countries and demonstrate what they normally wear in their hometowns.

Throughout the night were various performances that represented various cultures and rituals. There was the Yasugi Bushi performance, a famous folk song from Japan that involved two participants dancing while wearing face masks. Another performance was the Bollywood dance, a performance that demonstrated many different Indian dance styles. There was even a Rubik’s Cube performance where Lianhua Zhou solved the puzzle in a matter of minutes. The Rubik’s Cube is a popular puzzle that is well-known in western culture.

The event wrapped up with the emcees thanking the audience for attending and bringing all of the volunteers and performers to the stage.

[Tonight is] a night that we invite everyone to celebrate and promote the unity of International on campus,” said Papalii. “It doesn’t matter what race, color, or language we are; we believe in equality.”

Contact the author at cnakatsukasa15@wou.edu.

Photo by: Paul F. Davis