International Night: Journey Without Borders

Chris Toomey/The Watchdog
Chris Toomey/The Watchdog

There is only one place where anyone can attend a show featuring performers from every continent on Earth, and luckily for Bellevue College students, that place is right on campus. On April 27, hundreds of students, faculty and community members gathered in the Champions Center to watch performances and enjoy food from Indonesia, India, Ukraine, the Congo, Brazil and many other countries at BC’s thirty-first annual International Night.

This year, the theme of International Night was “Journey Without Borders”, and International Student Life Coordinator Linda Annable said the students chose the theme because “they liked the idea that they were on a journey from other countries, coming here to Bellevue College. There [are] really no borders or boundaries; the whole world is open to them while they’re here.”

Since current Assistant Dean of Student Programs Faisal Jaswal started the event when he was a student, International Night has become one of the most anticipated events of the year, and carries a huge significance for BC’s substantial international student population. “This is a chance for them to be proud of and show us a bit of a glimpse of what’s important to them,” said Annable.

International students weren’t the only ones who benefitted from the event; the celebration also served as a way for American students to experience cultures unfamiliar to them.

“It just shows them a bit of a snapshot of what other cultures are like and it brings a new dimension to their life,” said Annable. “We don’t experience that every day and it makes it so personal to us.”

Heidi Yota, an Indonesian international student, agreed, saying, “Usually when [Americans] find out about other country’s culture, they’re really excited about it and they want to know more.”

ISA President Kristianto said that he wished the event was accessible for all students, but not everyone could attend.

Despite this, the five months of planning that went into the event certainly paid off; International Night was sold out, with over 275 people in attendance. While many students may have missed the opportunity to learn about their fellow students, there’s always next year. “It’s important because it gets BC to know its students, where they come from, who they are and what they represent,” said Victoria Sifuentes, a student who attended the event. “Diversity is a very important component of BC, and that’s why it’s really great.”