The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

International festival celebrates culture

Flags waved in the wind, the smell of different foods floated through the air and laughter could be heard across the lawn as students gathered to celebrate culture and countries.

The Guilford College International Festival, hosted by the International Club, took place last Friday with flags, food and fun on a chilly day in front of Founders Hall.

The festival showcased community members and newcomers alike as even alumni came back to be a part of the experience.

“(The festival was full of) good food and music, and all the students were actively engaging,” said Kunga Denzongpa ‘15.

The annual celebration of our diverse world was a way to promote awareness of the different backgrounds that makes Guilford so unique. The whole event was fun as well as informative for students.

“(The festival) shows us how all of those diverse countries can come together and create something in one group,” said senior Rocio Lutenbacher. “(It shows us) how (Guilford) students want to show other people the extent of the diversity we have.”

At Guilford, international students make up an important part of our community, and appreciation of different cultures is critical to understanding and appreciating the community we live in.

“I had so many people come up to me at the festival and just say, ‘This is awesome. I love being part of all these cultural traditions,’” said first-year Shea Orth-Moore.

These traditions, whether musical, literary, culinary or otherwise, gave students a short but enlightening glimpse into countries from Burma to Mexico.

“You get to learn about different countries and experience a small part of each world,” said Lutenbacher.

The festival took place in front of Founders, a prominent area on campus that made it accessible for students to stop by and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

“The festival was exciting because I was able to meet a lot of people and teach them about foods I grew up eating,” said Chavurah adviser Corie Hampton in an email interview.

As the evening continued, a buffet of foods from all over the world opened on the porch of Founders, inviting a surprising number of students and teachers to taste the cultures they learned about.

A line that started at the entrance of the theatre department wrapped around the front of Founders Hall as attendees waited in anticipation for the feast.

“I was very impressed with how many students came and were so open to learning about all regions of the world,” Hampton said.

Brazil, Palestine, India, Iran, Pakistan and South Africa, among others, were represented at the event.

“One of the reasons I chose Guilford is because it’s much more than a liberal arts school,” said Orth-Moore. “It has culture, and it has people with similar goals as me for the world. There are people out there … who admire that about Guilford.”

One of the newest additions to the festivities, the Israel table, focused on cultural appreciation over politics.

“All four years that I have been at Guilford, we never had an Israel table,” said senior and Chavurah President Stephanie Byer. “I wanted Israel to be represented from a cultural perspective because that is part of my Jewish identity.”

The festival concluded with a performance from the Christian Communications Institute dance team from Thailand, and from there, Guilford students were left to reflect on the whole experience.

“To me, seeing everyone together gave me this sense of optimism,” said Hampton. “It made me think that maybe one day everyone can come together to enjoy each other.”

Even the faculty took note of the extraordinary atmosphere.

“(There were) songs, dance, color, sounds, spectacle and something for everyone,” said Volunteer Coordinator Andrew Young in a Facebook status after the event.

If one evening of international learning has not sated your appetite, the international club meets every week at 3 p.m. in the study abroad office in King Hall. Everyone is welcome to come, participate and learn from everyone present.

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