Students celebrate International Week with annual dinner

Bridjet Mendyuk and Bridjet Mendyuk

The World Student Association kicked off international education week with a dinner on Sunday night to recognize cultures and traditions from around the world.

The international Dinner was hosted in the Union ballroom from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and provided attendants with dinner as well as more than six multicultural performances. The dinner is one of many events for the international celebration from November 4th to November 17th.

Junior Cuilin Ge and WSA president said putting the dinner together has taken the whole semester but was very pleased with the outcome of the dinner.

“We started to plan this after the last dinner [in 2011],” Ge said. “We want to increase the awareness of a diverse campus.”

The night began with students donned in traditional clothing from different countries carrying flags as an opening ceremony for the dinner. After the opening, a speech was given from University President Mary Ellen Mazey.

Having international students enriches the campus and brings joy to students, Mazey said. She said she wants to bring in more international students to campus in the upcoming years.

“We should make a commitment for more international scholarships,” said Mazey.

More than 11 departments and organizations had a role in contributing to the international dinner including the Latino Student Union, The Language Company and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

“Events like this are so important to our campus and community,” Deanna Vatan Woodhoused, Director of the Office of Division of Student Affairs, said.

The first act, Kaze no Daichi Taiko: Land of the Wind Taiko, was a traditional drumming performance by University students. Junior and Brazilian exchange student Lara Ximenes said she loves being an exchange student at the university. Her favorite part of the dinner was watching the Taiko drummers and listening to the Colombian singers Feria de Manizales and Tuna Compostelana.

“I was really impressed. They were really good,” Ximenes said. “They were so different but equally beautiful.”

After the dinner, a student organized fashion show had students strut their traditional garments from several different countries on stage in the front of the Union ballroom.

Sophomore Kobe Huynh said the fashion show preparation required four rehearsals lasting 1-2 hours.

“We put a lot of effort into it,” Huynh said.

During the dinner, there was a silent auction where attendants were able to bet on diverse items from different cultures like Chinese slippers, fortune telling bones and Kenyan masks.

The main focus of the dinner, according to Ge, was to educate others and to learn more about other cultures.

Ph.D. student Rohini Richard said her favorite part of the dinner was the fashion show and the Diwali Mela performers whom danced to semi classical dance music from South India. She said the international education week gives people an opportunity to do something different.

“There’s a lot of diversity here at BGSU,” Huynh said.

Other acts during the dinner included Chinese singer Xiaoshan Liu sang “Evening Primrose” while the audience ate dessert. Then, the BGSU Martial Arts Club showcased their talents to the audience by demonstrating the different types of martial arts from different countries. The Colombian singers and Diwali Mela performers were the last acts in the program. The closing ceremony concluded the dinner by having the fashion show models exit the ballroom carrying the same flags they had started the night with.

Junior Katie Koller and executive board member of WSA said she was happy with the outcome of the dinner.

“I always love the opening and closing flag ceremony because it shows unity,” Koller said. “In the end, somehow everything comes together.”