Discover cultures, new languages and diversity. The 38th annual International Week (I-Week), sponsored by the Council of International Students and Organizations (COISO), kicked off last Friday with opening ceremonies. This year’s theme, “Discover,” will showcase different cultures from all over the globe.
“We wanted to have a broader theme,” Gayle Mendoza, I-Week chair, said. “Discover culture and traditions. All the hard work will pay off-I expect everything to go extremely well.”
The UC Patio was center stage for the opening ceremonies that began with Asia Day and One Night of Asia, with displays by the various international organizations, including the Korean Student Association and the Indian Student Association (ISA).
“It helps students see other parts of the world,” Aditi Kothekar, junior and ISA member, said. “This is accessible to them, and it brings students together.”
The mood was festive and energetic as students walked through the patio, full of flags representing various countries and people dancing to upbeat music. Those in attendance were treated to Indian food, handcrafts from Thailand and Korea, and even palm reading.
“This was my first time attending I-Week at UM because I just transferred,” Vicky Rodriguez, junior, said. “I really like that the school has something like this because I’ve never seen it before. I especially like that the days were organized around themes like Asia Day.”
Mr. and Ms. International, Gianluca Matulli and Shana Valliani, also joined opening ceremonies.
“I wanted to represent my background and meet people from different cultures,” Valliani said. “Events like this are important so we can be aware of other cultures and learn about them.”
Students who attend all events can enter a raffle with a grand prize of a 300-dollar travel voucher for anywhere in the world.
Despite the heat, the turnout of students on Friday was high.
“Every year it gets bigger and better,” Ciara Mohamed, COISO president, said. “I’m impressed and excited-it can only get better.”
I-Week will conclude on Saturday with the COISO Feast of Nations banquet. Tickets can be purchased at any of the I-Week events.
Middle Eastern Day
Vanessa Krause can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.