USF’s International Student Association (ISA) kicked off International Education Week with their Culturescape event last week.
Culturescape is put on annually by ISA and consists of an evening of performance and cuisine. Each cultural club is able to participate and showcase a traditional song, dance, or musical piece. This year, ten cultural clubs participated in the event, including the African Student Association, Hui’ O Hawaii’, and Kasamahan (USF’s Filipino American student organization). One student performed a musical piece with an ancient Chinese stringed instrument, the Guqin, while another group of students presented a lively Bollywood dance. There were also performances from USF University Choir, Vitality SF, Jazz Ensemble of ASUSF Voices, and VarCity SF.
ISA intends the annual Culturescape to share international cultures with fellow USF students. ISA hosts various events throughout the year aimed at creating a sense of community for international students. “We have so many international students on campus, we want to do something for them because without Culturescape there is no big event that brings these students together for one night,” said Marketing Chairperson Sherry Feng.
Aside from the student’s performances, each ethnic club presented a cuisine of their choice for the proceeding reception in the McLaren Center. Dishes ranged from chicken katsu (a Japanese dish consisting of breaded chicken cutlets), to pancit (a Filipino noodle dish), to falafel, and finally to aloo tikki (an Indian potato side dish). “It’s like one big melting pot,” said Feng.
“I’ve actually been thinking about joining the German club when I saw them congregated and serving food at the reception,” said freshman audience member, Jess Greblunas. “It got me more interested in the idea of joining a cultural group on campus.”
“What I noticed is all of the food felt really authentic, it wasn’t anything Americanized,” said freshman international student, Haruka Ono.
All students are welcome and encouraged to participate in ISA events, including Culturescape. The ISA isn’t solely a community for international students, but rather all USF students who are interested in educating themselves about new cultures and participating in campus-wide events.
A non-international member of the ISA, freshman Liz Crocker, stated, “Coming from an uncultured environment in Southern California, I can say that Culturescape and The International Student Association has helped me broaden my perspective on so many different cultures and has helped me meet people from all around the world.”
Culturescape is both an exhibition of student’s talents and a proud display of tradition. Feng said, “It’s fun to get involved and show off your background, show off your diversity, and show off where you came from.”
The ISA and ISSS (International Student & Scholar Services) merged to support this night of global diversity to begin the series of events that are part of International Education Week. Upcoming events include a Global Trivia Night, IEW Celebration, and International Cup, a USF soccer tournament.
Photo courtesy of Hamis Al Sharif