Celebrating culture on campus

College hosts the annual International Festival as students from around campus and globe explore cultural diversity

By Ross Burton

In a time when the media seems to focus only on the negative differences between cultures, the International Festival aims to celebrate connection through diversity and cultural ex- change. The event allows those who at-tend a first hand look at many culturesfrom around the world.

Tarrant gym at St. Michael’s Col-lege was packed with people, a centerstage and an international buffet that ran the width of the gym. On Nov. 3 Flags from Kenya, Israel, Germany and Japan among many others decoratedthe walls. The hall filled with sounds of people talking, music blasting andfootsteps from the dancers shoes hit- ting the stage.

“It is one of those rare opportunities where an entire community gets to see the different cultures that we have on campus, and people are interacting with each other, having fun,” said Kimoi Seale, Assistant Director of Center of Multicultural Affairs.

The International Festival allows the audience to experience first-hand the cultures they would have never had the opportunity to otherwise engage with. The St. Michael’s College community is able to see performance from all over the world, and have the opportunity to taste food from an even larger variety of places. “It’sreally good” said Jeremy Mikaelson, aninternational student from China, as he enjoyed his plate of food from around the globe.

During one of her performances, dancer Zania Zahra, came down from the stage and invited the crowd to come dance with her. “It is a change for people to get out of their seats, and comfort zones, and truly be part of the event, it gives everyone a chance to truly come together and just celebrate that,” Zahra said.

Seeing everyone come together,dancing and smiling, makes it clearthat the International Festival is not only showcasing different cultures, but truly celebrating them. “There was a group of Japanese students dancing, and there’s a Korean dance, which is a mix of American, Korean and Japa-nese,” said Mikaelson.

The International Festival is an opportunity to be exposed to different cultures and to see why others are cel- ebrating them. “You don’t value whatyou don’t know and what you haven’tbeen exposed to,” said Moise St. Louis, Director of Multicultural Student Services.