UW-Platteville celebrates their International Students

Over this past weekend, International Club sponsored its 53rd annual International Night. This year’s theme was the Magnificent Middle East, featuring traditional food, dance and song from various Middle Eastern countries.

The night started with the global fair. Students presented posters from over twenty countries, including topics such as economic systems, traditions and interesting facts on them. Some of the booths offered to write people’s names in their native language. They also had demonstrations of Tai Chi running for spectators to watch and even try.

The flag parade followed the conclusion of the global fair. The flags presented represented all of the home countries of our current international students. These countries ranged from Australia and France to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Fiji. The presentation of flags and global fair were good ways for other students to see where their peers are from and learn more about their cultures.

“I think that International Night brings awareness [to UW-Platteville], giving people the opportunity to explore something that is outside of their comfort zone. I’ve noticed that many people in Platteville don’t have the opportunity to travel very much, so this event brings them a small piece of what they haven’t experienced,” sophomore industrial engineering and International Club secretary Carole Desportes said.

Chancellor Dennis Shields gave a brief welcome to the event, saying that International Night “showcases the best of our [UW-Platteville] international efforts.” He thanked all of those who helped put the night together and wished everyone the best with the event. Awards were then presented for Excellence in Service to Internationalization, given to The Driftless Market, and Excellence in Advising International Students, given to Dr. Louis Nzegwu.

Student performances followed the awards. The performances included the song Fishing Serenade, or YuZhouChangWan (in Chinese), played by Gloria on a Guzheng, dances from Latin, Peruvian and India influence and a live band performance. All of the student performances exposed the audience to diverse cultural traditions and celebrations.

“It’s important to recognize cultures that are different from our own.  I believe that International Night brings us together as we learn about the cultures of the students that study here and the countries they are from. It is important to be culturally competent in a world that is increasingly becoming more dependent on globalization,” senior business administration major Mitch Kuster said.

Dinner was served after the student performances, and it consisted of Middle Eastern cuisine. The appetizers included bourekas, martabek, sabich, Arabic salad and pita bread. Everything was prepared and served on platters, and the recipes for the food could be found in the program for the event. The main course of the night was Kabsa, a chicken and rice dish. Finally, for dessert they served samsa, loukoumades and basbousa.

Following dinner was a game of international trivia, asking questions about landmarks, flags and fun facts. After the dinner and games, the much-anticipated Global Explosion group performed. This is a dance group that was formed last year by a few of the students in International Club.

“It’s been a wonderful experience to see it grow, and I am excited to see where it goes in the future. Co-founder Angie Yang and I started with just two of us dancing to Hmong and Indian songs. Now, it has grown to 22 students dancing to seven songs from different cultures. This dance group is a way of leaving my mark on International Night,” senior computer science and geography major and student staff assistant programming intern Narisha Reddy said.

Many of the audience members were waiting for this part, and they felt this was one of the best parts of the night.

“My favorite part of the event was watching Global Explosion perform various cultural dances,” Kuster said.

Kuster was not the only one to be impressed by the performance from Global Explosion.

“I chose to go because I love to participate in events highlighting the beauty of culture(s). My favorite part had to have been the Global Explosion. [T]hose song and dance numbers were so good,” senior Spanish and international studies major Stephanie Prochaska said.

The event ran smoothly, but there was a lot of preparation for the event. International Club spent many hours preparing for the event, creating posters, dances and games. There was little rest for the members, but all of their hard work seemed paid off.

“I oversaw all the marketing, entertainment and volunteer activities. I also put together … Global Explosion. I reached out to students and staff to promote the event. During the day/night of the event, I was in charge of entertainment and making sure the event was flowing,” Reddy said.

The date is already set for next year’s International Night, and the students in International Club will be hard at work organizing another night of cultural creativity.