Decorated with streamers and balloons, the Viking Union Multi-Purpose Room was filled with the chatter of students and a variety of international food.
Students, faculty and staff came together to share food, games and activities from different cultures at International Cultural Night, hosted by Western’s Language and Cultural Program Friday, Nov. 4.
Activities included origami, calligraphy and Arabic writing. Prior to this year, the event was focused on Japan. A few years ago, the Asia University America Program and Intensive English Program collaborated to create an event inclusive to all international students.
Laura Carney is a senior AUAP instructor.
“The most popular thing at this event is the food,” Carney said. “I’m glad I came early because I tried everything, and it was delicious.”
Carney enjoys the event because it is a way to bring people together.
“This is like home to us.”
Sophomore Isaiah Valera
“Western is a university that is really trying to internationalize more,” Carney said. “We hold this event hoping students and faculty will come and be able to get a taste of some of the different cultures that are represented here at Western and also to give the IEP and AUAP students a chance to share their culture.”
Junior Mai Harada is an IEP student from Japan. At the event she taught participants how to fold origami.
“This is easy to make, but it is fun for Korean people [to learn], so I chose this section,” Harada said. The dog is the easier to make, she said.
Culture night is important to Harada because it is a way for her to connect with students and teach them about her culture.
“People can know another culture and we can communicate through activities,” Harada said.
At the Japanese calligraphy station, IEP study abroad student Ryata Namiki was teaching people how to write their names in Japanese.
“Calligraphy is most famous in Japanese culture,” Namiki said. “We want to try and teach Americans Japanese culture,” Namiki said.
For many students this event is a place where they can enjoy culture and feel like they are right at home.
Sophomore Isaiah Valera, a communication studies major, attended the event. This year was his second time attending the event.
“The reason I went to this event was because there is not many events here at Western that are focused on Asian culture. This is all an international hub of Asian [and other cultural] food and games,” Valera said. “We don’t get that experience that much here in America, so it is nice to have a little get-together to refresh our culture. This is like home to us.”