Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

International Street Fest: An opportunity to bond with different cultures

Ngan Vu
Senior Norika Maeda wears a Kimono at the International Street Fest at Lindberg Center on April 26, 2024. Maeda provides calligraphy for attendees as part of her table.

Flags from all over the world hung from the ceilings of Lindberg, waving as dancers twirled around a big circular crowd, emphasizing foot movements which were adorned with little bells during Augustana’s International Street Fest on April 26.

Outside of Lindberg, the clouds were dark and the day was gloomy. However, inside the music was loud, people were joyous and the air was filled with contagious laughter from all the people enjoying the International Street Fest. 

Sophomore Reyna Mehta performed a classical Indian dance called Kathak, translating to story, and is a word derived from the religious book of the Vedas. It involves the use of facial expressions, hand gestures and rhythmic foot movements and a way to convey Indian legends and epics. 

“I love performing because it enables me to share my culture with others but also because receiving positive feedback makes me feel very accomplished as a dancer,” Mehta said. 

During this evening, the walls of Lindberg were covered in bright fairy lights and the perimeter of the room was covered by bright colorful tables, hosted by Augustana’s cultural groups on campus. 

First-Year Vincynthia Williams said that she really enjoyed seeing all of the cultural groups come together, especially because most of the groups usually host their events individually. 

“My favorite thing to do was learning how to write my name in Japanese,” Williams said. “I also really enjoyed trying Mexican candy for the first time.”

As the event continued, the adrenaline levels of the crowd started to pick up when three groups of students turned the event into a concert, singing some of their traditional songs in their native languages.  

First-Year Amber Zemmouri said that she loved wearing her cultural clothing to an event that was broadly focused on more than one culture. Zemmouri said the event was an excuse to wear traditional clothing on campus, as well as be immersed in new musical genres.  

“There were really good music choices,” Zemmouri said. “In fact, I don’t recall ever hearing nearly as many different types of music as I did today.”

Aside from the entertainment, attendees also had the opportunity to delight their appetite with a wide variety of foods and desserts, which helped people connect with the different cultures at a deeper level.

“The food covered a wide variety of my tastebuds,” Williams said. “The line was long but the food was worth the wait.”

Before the event was finalized, members from Latinx Unidos took to the dance floor and taught attendees how to dance cumbia along with other traditional dances. 

“Events like these help people connect with each other,” Zemmouri said. “Through this event, I was able to learn more about my friends and also about the cultures of the places that I hope to visit someday.”

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