Cultures coming together: International Night

Photo courtesy of the International Student Association

With international students hailing from Uzbekistan to Slovakia to Malaysia to Turkey, Bellevue College is an extremely diverse campus. Here at our school we have students from 56 different countries, and a very active International Student

Association (ISA). On the evening of Saturday, April 28, the ISA put on their biggest event of the year: International Night.

This year the theme was “Unity in Diversity.” The event began with an introduction of the emcees, Noreen Wong from Hong Kong, Michael Yoon from South Korea, and Takhmina Dzhuraeva, from Tajikistan.  They introduced Anh Nguyen, the well-loved president of the ISA, who gave a short address—and welcomed VIPs such as Laura Saunders, college president—and the event began.

The first thing to happen was a banquet featuring food from around the world—some items on the menu were curry, piroshky, Pad Thai, and Lumpia. Students and guests ate and talked for awhile and then were invited out to the show.

Next was a welcoming dance featuring all the performers of the evening. It was the opening to the bigger event: the Parade of Nations, a fashion show depicting the different styles of cultural dress in countries across the world, starting with Afghanistan and ending with Viet Nam.

Each country had at least one style that was modeled and explained – the outfit’s history was given, and its purpose. Some couples paraded together in wedding attire for that specific country. Every outfit displayed was unique to its culture, and every one was exquisitely beautiful.

Following the Parade was the beginning of the performances that would take up the rest of the evening; a duo on the guitar and accordion sang in the Italian style, at one point serenading emcee Dzhuraeva.

Following them was an African dance entitled Rhythm of Africa, performed by the African Student Association. The music for that number was sung in three different languages.

Next came a Chinese Kung-Fu demonstration—masters showed off their skills with weapons as well as with traditional martial arts.

After that was the traditional Thai dance pictured above. The beat for this dance started slow but increased midway through.

Following the Thai performance came a cultural tradition from Japan – Taiko drumming. The emcees, who would frequently tell the audience interesting pieces of information during their short skits between performances, said that this drumming actually used to be used to motivate warriors in battle in ancient Japan. It was very intense music, and extremely well-received.

After the Thai performance came the Filipino student dance, in which they performed a cultural dance meant to imitate the Tinikling bird, which has to avoid traps set by rice farmer.

The next performance was from the Indonesian Fellowship, and this dance was done without traditional music: rather, the students themselves used chanting, clapping, and song to provide the beat for their dance.

The second to last dance was done by El Centro Latino and the LACC – this was the Merengue Dance, which was done with three partners. They later did an encore performance after the official end of the night.

Finally, the last performance featured the entire ISA – and the BC Glee Club. They sang “We Are The World,” inspiring the entire audience to sing along.

The event ended up being a huge success, with all 300 tickets selling out three days prior to the event. And, as the emcees said together at the end of the night, “We hope we’re one step closer to… unity in diversity.