Celebrating cultures and traditions: International night kicks off International week festivities


Samantha Sims

Nicolas Algeciras and Sophia Santana perform a salsa dance to commemorate their Hispanic heritage.

To kick off International Education Week, instructor Aileen Mootoo Robertson partnered with MISA, ISU and the SGA to host the annual International Night last night in the Student Union Ballroom. This event celebrates students and faculty from all cultures and countries represented at Southeastern.

“This is an event for international education week, which is celebrated all over the world. We want our students to be involved with internationalism and global events and give the opportunity to welcome our international students. At the same time, [we can] get our local students involved with the international students,” World Languages and Cultures Department Head Dr. Lucia Harrison said.

The night began with a dinner sponsored by the SGA. They partnered with Aramark to create traditional dishes from across the globe for everyone to try. Stir-fried teriyaki tofu, panna cotta and Thai chicken salad were just a few of the guest favorites from the world buffet.

Students from Southeastern, neighboring high schools and friends of the community were invited to perform a series of traditional songs, dances and speeches to showcase pieces of their culture. Highlights of the performances included Southeastern’s Spanish Club’s traditional Mexican folklore dance, St. Thomas Aquinas singing “La Bicicleta,” by Carlos Vives and Shakira, and sophomore sociology major Festin Osimbo reading a poem he had written in Swahili.

“At first I was nervous, but then it made me feel good. As soon as I went there, I could feel the support of the people,” Osimbo said about the people’s reaction to his poem about the internal conflicts happening in his home country, Kenya.

Guests were able to enjoy an international art gallery created by Southeastern’s international students. International and multicultural organizations set up tables for guests to learn more about their missions. 

The event was also an opportunity for the study abroad program to raise money for students and future trips. Guests were encouraged to donate and enter a raffle for door prizes. Past study-abroad students were recognized for their photography skills and winners of the study-abroad photography competition were announced as well.

For the remainder of International Education Week, students can participate in the following events:

  • 11/16: International Dance Classes from 6:30-8 p.m., where students can learn dances from around the world at the REC Room 225
  • 11/17: International Cultural Display will be held in the Student Union Breezeway from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., where students can learn from international students about their home country and sample a piece of culture
  • 11/18: International Karaoke will be in Tinsley Lounge from 6-10 p.m., and people are invited to come to sing along to their favorite international song