International community brings cultures together

Dillan Schorfheide, Staff Reporter

The Grand Ballroom turned into a scene of games, cultural singing, dancing and international unity Saturday night.

The Association of International Students, with the help of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, held this semester’s Global Culture Night in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Along with the dances and games, a skit was performed to show how Africa has become more modernized, and many traditional garments from different countries were on display in a fashion show.

The first game played was bingo, but not the traditional bingo game.  The sheet given to everyone had requirements on it, and participants had to find somebody who met each requirement.  For example, one square on the sheet said attendees had to find someone who has visited a country in Europe.

Attendees had 15 minutes to complete the sheet, and three random winners were drawn after time ran out.  The lucky winners were Mahip Rathore, a graduate student, Arun Kumar Nagula, a graduate assistant in the Office of International Students and Scholars and Charleston resident Margie Gibbens.

Gibbens brought her grandchildren to Global Cultural Night and said her family loves cultural events.

“We love to expose (the grandchildren) to as many cultures as possible,” Gibbens said.

Cultural performances were also on display Saturday.

For the dancing portion, one group of students performed multiple dances, one student performed a tap dance routine and another performed an Indian dance routine.

Alumnus James Calderon, who graduated last year with a Master’s in music, performed his version of two pop songs on the violin.

Carol Mbouombouo, one of the students who performed in the dances, said she was happy to perform and see the different cultures represented.

“It is nice to see the different flags and cultures,” Mbouombouo said.  “Even though we are from different parts of the world, it is nice to be able to come together.”

Three students were given monetary prizes for writing an essay about an experience they had with culture shock.

The first-place prize of $100 went to Ryan Henderson, a senior accounting major from New Zealand.

A second-place prize of $75 went to Moses Allor Awinsong, and in third place and getting $50 was Pabitra Aryal.

Alumnus Adekunle Adeyemo spoke to the attendees about following their dreams.

“It feels great (to speak) because I was an international student,” Adeyemo said.  “It feels great to speak to everyone and inspire them to follow their dreams.”

Two of the most emotional parts of the night came when everyone stood up and held hands to Michael Jackson’s “We Are the World,” as well as when attendees stood by their country’s flag to show their pride.

Charleston residents Jim and Rayma Laughlin said they were excited for the night and thought it was a good way to bring cultures together.

Marschelle McCoy, an office manager in the Life Science building, said she really enjoys the Global Culture Night.

“I love it. I’ve been coming here for seven years,” McCoy said.

Mark Bettinger, president of Chi Alpha, said the night displayed not only people’s cultural diversity but also the unity within that diversity.

“It’s great to have all the students come together, to celebrate their cultures, where they came from, through dance, songs, music and even some food,” Bettinger said.

AIS president Beluchukwu Ebede said he thought the night met the expectations he had “100 percent.”

“I would say we had quite a very good turnout,” Ebede said.  “Everyone is happy, everybody’s really, really excited.  Because from all indication, most people are giving the feedback that this is better than the previous Culture Night that we had.  So I think everybody was happy.”

 

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]