The Council of International Students and Organizations [COISO] will attempt to go “Around the World in 8 Days” during International Week [I-Week]. According to organizers the theme was chosen to help the UM community experience various cultures from around the world.
“The theme alludes to the book, Around the World in 80 days,” Minal Ahson, I-Week chair, said. “It was formulated in the hopes that students will have the opportunity to visit and actually experience the different regions of the world during the 8 days of I-week.”
Students say that the giant balloon that was setup next to the stage in the UC patio adds further to the allusion.
COISO is the umbrella organization for over 20 international and multicultural student organizations and represents the needs and interests of the international student body at UM, which comprises over 10 percent of the total student population.
COISO organizes other events, such as United Nations Day, as well as retreats, excursions and other social events for international students.
Ahson believes that I-Week will help bring people together and promote understanding of different cultures.
“I hope that people are able to experience other parts of the world as well as learn about and appreciate other cultures,” Ahson said. “Awareness and understanding lead to tolerance and acceptance – I hope that students will be able to experience this.”
As part of I-Week, the Filipino Students Association [FSA], Indian Students Association [ISA], Asian-American Students Association [AASA] and Japan Club took part in Asia Day, held on Friday in the UC patio and consisting of Asian food and activities. The event was tied in with Asian-American Awareness [AAA] Week.
Later, a large turnout of Gables residents, students, parents, faculty and staff were able to participate in One Night of Asia, a series of events that began to the beating of drums and a colorful display of Chinese Lion dancing by the Wah-lum Kung-Fu Group.
The ISA, FSA and AASA also performed traditional dances that showcased the diversity of Asian cultures.
“There was a lot of talent on display and I learned a lot about Asian culture,” Andrew Toma, sophomore, said. “I enjoyed it.”
“I was really impressed by all the time the people must have put in to organizing the show,” Diana Kramer, senior, said. “My favorite dances were the ISA ones and the coconut dance. I’m looking forward to the other events later in the week.”
Over 20 organizations are taking part in I-Week, including the Brazilian Students Association and the Polish Club.
I-week continues with days and nights for Africa, Europe and Latin-America.
A Caribbean day and Pacific night luau are also scheduled.
I-Week ends with “A Feast of Nations” banquet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Saturday, open to all COISO members, which includes members of all the organizations that comprise COISO.
Organizers hope that students will take advantage of the opportunity offered by I-week to educate themselves about cultures which they have never experienced.
“I hope that students will take the initiative to learn about a culture that they are not familiar with,” Ahson said. “Then the goal of I-Week will be accomplished.”
As a reward for participating in I-week, participants are eligible to win two round-trip tickets to anywhere in the Continental U.S., courtesy of STA Travel.
All that participants have to do is cut out the “Passport to the World” printed in today’s Miami Hurricane and have it stamped by an I-Week organizer on five out of the six days.
For more information, contact COISO at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arnab Basu can be contacted at email@example.com