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Journey Around the World

Written by ESLI
Published on 2018-03-07


21st Annual Cultural Night 2018
Every year, the World Student Association (WSA) at UW-Superior organizes and presents Cultural Night.  The evening includes an international dinner made with recipes the international students have gotten from home, and a performance showcasing the students’ home cultures.  This year’s performance included several traditional and modern dances, poetry reading, singing, and a fashion show of traditional dress from many countries. As always, it started with the flag ceremony. 
One of the groups performing at Cultural Night was made up of two current ESLI students, two ESLI alumni, and two other UWS international students.  They called themselves the Eastern Girls. 
Preparing a performance is a big job.  The Eastern Girls told me that they spent two hours per day, five days per week for four weeks choosing their dance, selecting the music, planning their performance, and then rehearsing until they had it memorized.  But all the hard work was worth it.  They did a great job!

International students are not the only performers.  This year we were lucky enough
to have a Native American student at UWS
perform an Ojibwe Jingle Dress Dance. 
Several international students commented that
they hadn’t known anything about Native
Americans before.  Now they have had a
glimpse into Ojibwe culture. 
Thanks to Paul Walsh for permission to use his photographs of Cultural Night. 
I believe most international students want not only to study, but also to make connections with other students.  For a lot of students, making connections is the hardest part of being here.  American students are often too focused on their classes and jobs to reach out to international students.  So the international students have to do the reaching out.  Joining a group like WSA is a great way to do that. 
According to Naran, Secretary of WSA this year, all the activities planned by WSA are designed to help people have a more “diverse experience”.  “Cultural Night,” said Naran, “is a way to share with the local community, to give them a sense of journeying around the world.”  Other activities are chosen to give international students a taste of American culture.  For example, in the fall, WSA organizes a trip to Bayfield so students can pick apples, which is a popular fall activity here. 
Naran explained that her favorite
activity so far was the “Cultures
Around the World” event sponsored
jointly by WSA and the Veterans and
Non-traditional Student Center at
UWS.  Naran got to share a piece of
her own culture by demonstrating
Mongolian calligraphy. 
          Sharing cultures is only one way to make connections.  If you’re not interested in the international student group on campus, try something else instead.  Sign up for a hike with the outdoor recreation group, or join the jazz band, or volunteer to help put on the Valentine’s Day Dance.  Joining in is the way to make connections, so that your “Journey Around the World” brings you experiences that you will always remember.

ESLI Centers in the United States are accredited by CEA.