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Opinion

Students expand cultural diversity with International Bazaar

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April 3, 2014

It is that time of year again where students come together to celebrate the food, music and dancing of different cultures around the world.

This past Tuesday marked the annual International Bazaar that takes place in early April. Students, faculty and community members gathered in the Riverview Ballroom and were treated to different foods from Europe, Asia and even our neighbors to the north in Canada.

Following the dinner, the crowd moved to the Falcon’s Nest for an hour-long “variety show,” where various student organizations and individuals performed songs and dances from around the world. It is truly an event that draws a large crowd, mostly because people are exposed to entertainment different from what they are used to.

This was my third year going to the event, and I always find it very interesting. Every year, there is something new to try or learn. Most, if not all, of the food served is quite unusual to me, since American food is in a group of its own. Just as I expected, some of the food was delicious and some of it tasted too different for my taste. I will admit that I was less reluctant to try the more familiar food, such as crepes or rice.

However, I wanted to take the opportunity to branch out and try the new food, like breaded pork. It was definitely not something that I would normally think of eating, but I am glad I took the chance to at least try it. Who knows how many of these opportunities we get in our lifetime.

It was also great to see how excited the servers, performers and other international students were at this event. Many classmates probably know very little about international students’ culture, and this was their chance to teach everyone about life back home. If music came on the loudspeaker or was performed, you could tell if they loved the song or if they never listen to it.

Although they come from every corner of the world, they share at least one thing: pride for their country. People would cheer if someone of their same nationality walked on stage, which was really cool to see. Despite this, they were also curious about American culture and were eager to spend time with their American friends. This was definitely a place to exchange cultural ideas and interests.

These views of pride and curiosity were shown a lot in the variety show. A few times, international students would sing or dance to American music, exemplifying their curiosity.

Other performers featured music and dance from Japan, South Korea, Brazil and the Hmong culture. They sang and danced to the popular music from these countries, and even people not from that specific culture performed as well. I loved seeing different talents that these students had and discovering new international, music.

The International Bazaar has consistently been one of my favorite events here at UWRF. There are so many new cultures to be exposed to, while people from these other cultures seek to explore our own culture.

I am glad we have to chance to try these new foods and hear these new musical styles, because we may not get another chance. If you missed out this year, there is always a chance to go in the coming years. The event is free and is great to attend with friends!

Cristin Dempsey is an English major and music minor from Eagan, Minn. She enjoys writing, playing the flute and swimming. After college she would like to pursue a career as an editor.