International Week shares cultures

Ever traveled the world in seven days?

Well, starting April 5 the Council of International Students and Organizations [COISO] offers UM students a chance to experience a variety of world cultures by bringing them to the UC in honor of International Week.

This annual event, according to International Week co-chair, Cory Cain, “provides international students with the opportunity to share their culture with the University of Miami.”

Each day of International Week will feature the presentation and performance of a different culture.

For the entire day, the UC will be decorated with the sights, sounds, and experiences offered by that specific organization.

“We plan on transforming the UC into Asia, for example,” says Cory Cain, “by recreating a fish market, or the daily life of a specific region there. People haven’t been to Asia or India, or any of these places – our goal is to bring these places to campus for everyone to experience.”

Furthermore, each organization will also be focused around a certain theme to promote unity.

This year’s theme for International Week is “United We Stand”.

For the first time at UM, International Week also plans on incorporating American culture-“Hometown USA”, led by James Pascual.

“The idea started off as a joke,” says Cain, “which eventually led to the creation of a scenario on the patio which incorporates everyone on campus”.

“Independence Day” will be Hometown USA’s theme and will include talks about women pioneers throughout American history as well as talks on the development of minority civil rights such as black voting.

While part of the week-long event incorporates debates and speeches on cultural awareness, Cain also emphasizes that International Week is, more importantly, “a culmination of education and fun.”

By fun, Cain means attractions ranging from the traditional display of cultural dances, music, and food, to the not-so-traditional sumo-wrestling event-in which students bump each other while dressed in giant sumo-outfits-or to the assembly of a boxing ring-in which students engage in not-so-physical contact by wearing gigantic, oversized gloves. International Week will also provide a Dunk Tank for students to further “drown racism” in a fun-spirited way.

The week will end with a banquet and an award ceremony that judges the performances and presentations of all the participating cultures.

According to Cain, there are two primary reasons why he believes everyone should partake in International Week: it allows students to go on a trip around the world in seven days just by coming to the UC; and it’s a chance to better understand the world as a whole by interacting with different cultures.

“Our world is in a situation now [in regards to Sept. 11] where we don’t know how to react when our personal bubble is pierced – so COISO wants to pierce the bubble a little bit, and open the gates to the cultural communities on campus,” Cain said.

For further information on International Week, visit the University Center Room 213.