Weber State University international students from all over the world came together to serve foods from their countries and perform traditional dances for the International
Student Banquet on Saturday. The banquet is an annual event hosted by the international students, who make all the food served at the banquet.
Most of the international students on campus had their countries represented at the banquet. The countries included China, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Tajikastan, Kuwait and Iran. The students had a choice of what main dishes they wanted to represent their country.
“It’s really important because the students can get an opportunity to exchange their cultures with their American fellows and with their other international students,” said Zaynab Alshakhiss, the international students senator and the organizer of the event.
One of the foods served at the banquet was California rolls, a sushi roll with cucumber, avocado and crab inside. Yuta Sekiguchi, the only international student at WSU from Japan, made the rolls.
Sekiguchi, a sophomore majoring in business, said he decided to go to the banquet because he is the only student from Japan and wanted to help make some sushi. Sekiguchi said that when he graduates in two years, he will probably go back to Japan.
There were also dishes such as bulgogi, beef and green onions, from South Korea, and mapo tofu from China.
The students also put on performances to represent their countries. One of the performances was a Latin dance by a group of four.
“I think, to me, it’s very important to my culture and to show everyone else that this is who we are, what we like . . .” said Natalia Munoz, a health administration major who was part of the group.
Munoz said dancing is a big part of her culture and that she grew up learning to dance. She and the other three dancers learned the dance over two days, with four hours of practice before performing.
“We basically just wanted to represent our culture and share it with everybody else,” said Crystal Garcia, a criminal justice and psychology major who was also part of the group.
There were four other performances at the banquet, including a Latin dance performed by three people from the Delta Chi Nu sorority, and a performance by Zhou Huan, who played the dizi, a Chinese flute. A group of Saudi Arabian international students performed a traditional Saudi dance. Bassam Alyami, a telecommunications major at WSU who was part of the group, said the dance is used in Saudi Arabia for celebrations.
At the beginning of the event, two international students, Anna Ivanova and Yousef Alawadhi, called up to the stage advisers who had helped them at WSU in order to thank them. One of those advisers was Joyce Karen Garcia, the SEVIS coordinator for the International Students and Scholar Center.
Garcia said one of her jobs is to help international students stay in compliance with immigration because they are on F-1 visas. The visas give them permission from Homeland Security to go to school in the United States.
“Coming to a new place, they don’t know anybody — a lot of them don’t even speak English — (and they’re) trying to get acclimated to everything,” Garcia said. “They use our office as like a second home, because we’re the only ones that they know and feel comfortable with in asking all sorts of questions.”