COISO hosts annual international week

“Navigating Our World,” a celebration of four regions of the world and the University of Miami’s international community, concluded last Friday night. Each night, the Council of International Students and Organizations (COISO), showcased a region with music, food and other tent activities.

COISO students and participants thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

“It gives students the ability to, specifically for the performances, be able to show off their talents and recruit other people in the audience who might be interested who never thought they could wear their culture on their sleeve,” said Alexander Walch, Opening Night Chair.

Students check out tents of cultural and historical significance during Africa night.
Students engage in activities created by each tent filled with cultural and historical significance. Photo credit: Patrick Mccaslin

Each night of the week showcased a different region. Monday was Opening Night, Tuesday Latin and Caribbean Night, Wednesday Africa Night, Thursday Middle East and Europe Night and Friday Asia Night.

Each night followed a similar structure, accentuated by the regions’ cultural differences.

Latin Night included a game to name the country given the first letter, name the artist that matches the song and talk about places to travel in the Americas.

“It’s a great way to showcase the international community. All the activities are pretty fun and there’s free food. I like the music here. Good vibes all around,” said Eben Butler, a junior mechanical engineering major.

Immigrants from the Americas are prevalent in Miami, a city sometimes called the ‘Capital of Latin America.’

Miami has a prevalent Latin American immigrant population, so much so that Miami is sometimes referred to as the ‘Capital of Latin America.’

“It’s about bringing all of South American and Latin American, Caribbean countries together,” said Liz Camacho, chair of Latin America and Caribbean Night.

“The goal for the night was to show that we like to be there for others. We like to not only be within our culture but have everybody integrated, to share more about what we are,” Camacho continued.

The night concluded with a smattering of Latin food, including ‘pastelitos’ and beans and dances from Latin performers.

Africa Night also included geography games along with making beaded necklaces and bracelets, learning ways to braid hair and writing one’s name in hieroglyphics.

The geography games help dispel misconceptions about Africa being one country while the other games educate on some African cultures.

“We wanted to celebrate the continent. We wanted to show students that the campus is diverse and make it warm for African students,” said Allaye Toure, chair of Africa Night.

Toure originally lived in Mali and has found a home away from home within COISO.

“It was kind of hard to fit in or feel part of the UM community,” Toure said. “I was able to make good friends from the organization.”

For students, the event provided an opportunity to learn.

“I learned a new way to braid hair,” said Anna Shafer, a senior sports administration major. “I like how they teach you about culture that you might not know about and it brings a lot of people together and the food is always good”

Middle East and Europe Night featured a Midsommar flower activity, ‘two truths and a lie’ for Middle East and Europe countries, matching brands with their country of origin and attendees could have their name written in Arabic.

Ananya Gupta, an international student from India, chaired Asia Night, the final part of International Week. The event included Henna tattoos, an introduction to Asian sports and stickers in Urdu.

“It’s a fun way of introducing cultures,” Gupta said. “As soon as I see something from my country, I feel good about it. I would want my friends here to know more about my culture back home and this is a good way to introduce it.”