If you were not at International Night this last Saturday then you sure missed out on an evening filled with exciting talent. At 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 2, people gathered in the Shaw Auditorium to support the diverse student body that is present on Graceland University’s campus.
The audience got to witness a variety of acts, from singing to cultural dances, and even a comedy act. The success of the evening was a testament to how incredibly hard the performers worked to prepare such dazzling acts as well as how hard the Director of International Programs, Diana Jones, worked to organize it.
At the beginning of the show the audience was educated a little on the timeline of when the first international students began to arrive at Graceland. The video, edited by Daniel Nieves, showed that from the school’s inception it has been serving the needs of people from foreign places in terms of education. Through the years, Graceland has welcomed students from all over the world. The video showed this by highlighting each country on a map. It was incredibly exciting to see how much of the world has been represented at a small school such as Graceland.
After the slideshow, there was a procession of the students carrying the flags of the countries that are represented here at Graceland, and there were a lot of them! Currently Graceland has students from 42 states and 41 countries. Dora Bosnyak from Hungary and Estefania Torres from Venezula (President and Vice President of the International Club, respectively) took the time to announce these countries and then the students representing these countries walked onto the stage to greet the audience.
Some acts from the show included Mim Sarre singing a song about her native homeland, Austrailia, Elza Popova performing a Russian cultural dance, and Samuel Ansong playing the drums. Each act continually showed off how much talent the student body has at Graceland. A thoughtful touch that was added to International Night was during a short break seniors from International Club, Latino Club, Polynesian Club, and all the other show participants were welcomed on the stage to share a few words on how much Graceland has meant to them. Those who shared with the audience talked briefly about their love for the community that Graceland has been for them and how sad they will be to leave it at the end of this year.
The excitement of the show did not end after the “Senior Moment.” Mariano Fernandez and Gensis Paco-Cano performed a Salsa routine with tricks and lifts with enough energy to make the audience want to dance, and we did! After their performance, Elza Popova returned to the stage to teach audience participants a routine. While this writer did not make her way to the stage, plenty of people were excited to take part in this opportunity.
After International Night, I got to ask the President of the International Club, Dora Bosnyak, to answer a few questions about the event and her experience about working with the International Club:
BL: Are you happy with the way International Night turned out this year?
DB: “Absolutely. This year we took some big steps forward and made some great changes while trying our best to keep tradition. We put a lot of effort into trying to make the event really ‘international’ this year, selecting performances that would represent cultures, so that the International Night is not just another regular talent show.”
BL: What type of things go into planning an event like this?
DB: “A lot of people wanted to perform, it was tough to choose. We tried to keep a healthy balance between music (singing and instrumental performances), dancing, and were very welcoming towards any participants who wanted to do something else other than that two. It helps a lot that upperclassmen knew the ways of the event, so they could help newcomers and volunteers at the flag carrying, etc. It is not too hard to organize it, because there is so much support and energy behind it that it almost puts itself together on its own.”
BL: Did you have any favorite acts this year?
DB: “I didn’t get to see everyone from backstage, but as far as I could tell, Elza Popova’s dance turned out very well. I have to admit I am pretty biased towards any European performances, especially ones that are so close to my own culture (Russia had a huge influence on my country). Also, I still can’t believe how successful the last dance turned out with the audience participation… It was unbelievable, that was my absolute favorite.”
BL:What do you like most about being a part of International Club?
DB: “The best thing about being a part of the International Club is that through it, each semester you can meet so many people from all around the world. We are trying to emphasize the thought that the IC is just as welcoming to students from the US. To encourage this, this year we will advertise some of the events as a Global Connection activity. This means that anyone can come and join us we would love to have all kinds of students at events. It is such a great opportunity to interact with people from everywhere!”
BL: Are there any other events that people can look forward to coming from the International Club?
DB: “The next big event for everyone is coming up on the 5th of December, called ‘World Fair’. Various clubs can have displays or sell items from all around the world – people usually find neat holiday gifts here. Watch for more details and save some cash to get a few unique presents! (If any organization would like to participate, please contact Diana Jones in the International Office under Walker!)”
It will be exciting to see what International Club has in store for us for the rest of the year!