International gala celebrates culture | The Triangle

International gala celebrates culture

The eighth annual International Gala took place in the Recreation Center April 11, featuring the theme “Dragons Around the World.” Two hundred fifty Drexel students attended the sold-out event put on by the International Students Union.

The Filipino Intercultural Society of Drexel, Indonesian Students Association, Fuana — a Bollywood dance troop — and a Russian ballerina performed dance numbers throughout the night. The various forms of entertainment allowed attending students to learn about a wide range of cultures, customs and traditions.

Photo Credit: Danish Dhamani
Photo Credit: Danish Dhamani

A graduate electric engineering student, Rohini Joshi, said the gala initially captured her attention because of its unique premise and promise of entertainment. “There are actually performances and dances, and it is actually themed,” Joshi said.

“I thought the performances were interesting,” Vince Dunne, a sophomore graphic design major, said, adding that his personal favorite was the Bollywood routine.

The fun continued later as a dance instructor taught the student crowd the basics of swing dancing.

The gala was originally created in an attempt to bring international students together and encourage awareness of ethnic diversity at Drexel.

Elizabeth Cahill, co-chair of the International Gala and international business major, explained how the event came to be.

“It was started and funded by the international admissions office, and it’s always been put on by a committee of students,” she said.

The international admissions office has always had the ISU plan the gala for them. However, due to budget cuts, different companies have sponsored the gala for the past few years.

“We’re hoping to keep the tradition alive,” Danielle Kot, the second co-chair of the event and operations and supply chain management major, said. The ISU hopes to keep admission for the gala free so that students from various countries can gather together for a night of collaborative fun.

“The point is to build friendships between domestic and international students of all backgrounds,” Cahill said.

The gala was catered by Cherry Hill, bringing guests an all-kosher international menu of Asian-oriented food. Center pieces portraying pictures of Drexel students studying abroad adorned the cloth tables along with summaries about different dragon myths from various countries.

Dunne suggested the event could take the international cuisine to a further level. “The food is good, but this is an international event, so I think they should incorporate food from other areas of the world,” he said.

The ISU will be holding other events around campus over the course of the remaining quarter.

Amin Zeiaee, a graduate mechanical engineering student, said he recently found himself frequenting the association’s events. “These events are very versatile,” Zeiaee said. “This is the third international event I’m attending. They’re all very different from each other.”

“We hold educational events and then we hold social events, but they’re all themed upon international cultures,” Cahill elaborated.

“We come up with maybe five to six events every quarter,” Kot said, referring to Valentine’s Day discussions about wedding ceremonies around the world, dialogues about different cultures’ superstitions and an international karaoke night.

The ISU is currently working to put together a “global race” with multiple international stations around campus — it would be the University’s own miniature version of “The Amazing Race” — May 17.