Walking in the door of the main floor in the Student Center, table hosts greeted guests dressed in traditional cultural outfits while the smell of hot chai lingered in the air.
A variety of currencies, maps and cultural keepsakes were scattered on the tables; flags of different countries lined the perimeter of the room.
With more than 400 tickets sold, the International Scholarship Dinner sold out its annual event on Saturday night.
Guests and participants shared in conversation with a near palpable anticipation for the show to begin.
The evening began with opening remarks and a welcome from Daniel Erickson, director of the International Student Office.
The microphone was quickly turned over to the first group of emcees and international students, Nelson Duran Chicas of El Salvador and Hasna Aldawood of Saudi Arabia.
Meihan Guo was the first act of the night, playing the Guzheng, an ancient Chinese harp-like instrument more correctly classified as a zither.
She has been playing the instrument since she was 10 years old.
Suraj Tamrakar, a physics junior from Pokhara, Nepal, attended the International Scholarship Dinner and participated in the “Bollywood Mix” dance during the second half of the show.
“My favorite act of the night was Meihan Guo,” Tamrakar said. “I never imagined a girl could look so talented and elegant while playing a musical instrument.”
Tamrakar said that he felt the three-hour event went by quickly, due to the quality of talent displayed throughout the night.
The evening included three dances from Nepal, one of which is called the Lakhe.
According to the online blog, Cultural Survival, Lakhe is “the dance of a demon… it occurs on the last day of Indra Jatra, the festival celebrating Indra, the Hindu king of heaven.”
Le Xu, a graduate student in accounting from China, sang a modern Chinese song that translates into “I will wait for you until the flowers wither” to an audience of swaying hands.
Five acts were performed before a break that included a six-food option meal and dessert: hummus and pita bread from Jordan, vegetable spring rolls from China, Tandoori chicken and vegetable pakoras from India, chili potatoes from Nepal, rice from Nigeria and chocolate chip pound cake.
Two new emcees took over themicrophone for the second half of the show, Osayad Sawalha of Jordan and Julia Tobacyk of Poland.
Rosalynne Fluty, a junior French major, said she enjoyed her evening at the International Scholarship Dinner.
“It’s difficult to choose my favorite act, for there were so many that were enjoyable,” Fluty said. “I think my favorite would have to be the Asian Fusion,” she said.
Juan Carlos Cano of Mexico sang Latin melodies accompanied by an acoustic guitar.
The Flamenco dance was led by Skarleth Vargas, a Bolivian native from Argentina, but also included nine students from various countries around the world. Two dances, African Mix and Bollywood Mix, featured high energy, fast-paced group dancing. The award ceremony came at the end of the night, where 13 students received scholarships.
The students who won scholarships include: Emmanuel Umajesi, Raveena Warrier, Eyas Abu Alhaj, Cheng Song, Karthik Tappa, Phong Xuan Le, Jenit Awale, Jyotsnaa Parajuli, Bishestha Adhikari, Farial Afroze, Anushree Acharya and Purnima Kharidehal.
The scholarships were donated in part by Linda and Eugene Kearney, friends of International students, Bounds & Gidlow and Tech Student Government Association.
The evening ended with viral Internet KPOP sensation “Gangnam Style,” performed by nine students—three of which are natives of South Korea.
Shashank Shrestha, a native of Nepal and President of International Students, said he felt the event was a success.
“There were no technical problems and the show seemed to flow very well,” Shrestha said. “The main goal of myself and the International Student Office was to bring the whole world to Ruston, I think everyone had a good time and we accomplished that goal.”
To anyone considering attending an international event in the future, Fluty said she thinks everyone should and would enjoy the experience.
“I love that you have an opportunity to meet and learn about our peers from other countries and what their traditions are like back home,” Fluty said. “It was a lot of fun experiencing different, ethnic foods and seeing different styles of song and dance.”
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