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International Cultural Festival set for Saturday

International studentsInternational students at Lamar University are preparing to host the 5th annual International Cultural Festival, Saturday, November 19, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Montagne Center. The event is free and open to the public.

The free event, featuring international dance, dress, music and foods, will cap off International Education Week — a celebration of the many ways the world benefits from international education that began on Monday.

With informative videos, displays and presentations alongside performances and dishes, the festival will feature international students’ unique cultures and countries while fostering an appreciation of the merits of international education and celebrating Lamar’s international population.

Over a thousand international students from 65 countries around the world will join one another and the domestic student body to showcase the idea of unity within diversity—and all unite under the same roof as Lamar Cardinals.

“I’m a visual learner, so it helps me to relate to people of other countries to see what they may wear in their traditional attire,” said Yangti Shah of India.

Shah is pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and is helping organize the fashion show. The response has been good, she said, with representation of traditional attire by students from India, Pakistan, Nepal, China, Mexico, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Angola planned for the show. “For us, it will also be a feeling of being closer to home,” she said. “We are sure that the audience will have fun as well.”

Shah joined a sorority at Lamar and it became for her one way of becoming immersed in American culture. To share her own culture, she invited her sorority members to join in celebrating Diwali with her and other Indian students on October 30 where “they were able to get a taste of our food and customs.” She sees Saturday’s event as an opportunity to extend the idea of inclusion to the broader community.

Niharika Bachani of India is pursuing a master’s in kinesiology and is serving as cultural secretary of the International Student Council. “This event is a great opportunity to come and see how diverse the student body of Lamar University is and to enjoy the many cultural backgrounds represented,” she said.

All events during the International Education week, themed “Empowering Young People through International Education,” are free and open to the public.

The Offices of Study Abroad, International Student Services, Diversity & Inclusion, the Reaud Honors College, Phi Beta Delta International Honors Society, the JoAnne Gay Dishman School of Nursing and the Department of English and Modern Languages are sponsoring International Education Week 2016.