36 years of cultural traditions
International Student Services gave students a ‘Passport to the World’ as they explored and celebrated cultures through art, food and dance.
The 36th annual International Festival was hosted Friday, Nov. 15 as guests were greeted in SLB.
Food was one of the main aspects of the event, providing cultural samples such as vegetable lo mein noodles and several others.
“It’s fun. I like going to events and learning about other cultures,” said junior Garrett McAllister. He added that he enjoyed trying new foods – Indian vegetable biryani butter chicken in particular.
Dance performances were featured throughout the night with groups ranging from the Asian Student Organization to St. Andrew’s Pipe and Celtic Dancers. The performances included performers of all ages from young children, students and adults.
The Chinese Student Organization performed K-Pop songs to show tribute to Korean Pop music, while the African Student Organization performed poetry pieces and African dance.
Lou Xiaojing, graduate student and Chinese Student Organization dancer, said she wants “people to enjoy it and love what we love.” She explained that she wants the University to get to know students better and show recognition of the Chinese students on campus. She said, “It’s (the festival) amazing. Fantastic. Eye opening.”
Amongst food and dance, students enjoyed artwork, and artifacts from several different countries. Peruvian woven hats and passport holders from Sol Peru were featured, as well as Chinese character art.
Sarah Jomes, director of international student services said that the International Festival is the oldest running program at UIS. She added that because there are over 300 international students at UIS, the event allows students to celebrate and share their cultures with others.
Jomes said UIS’ international students have pride and joy in sharing themselves with the community and that she wants to keep their traditions alive.