International Week

By Michael Schryvers

With over 2,000 international students and a campus more diverse than a pack of Skittles, it seems natural for International Week to brighten our dreary February days.

From Feb. 7-11, the campus is host to a variety of cultural activities, including Mehndi painting, a lion dance, and a Japanese tea ceremony.

"International Week is an opportunity for students and staff to showcase their backgrounds and heritages, to celebrate their differences," said Students’ Union Vice-president Operations and Finance Amanda Affonso. "It became a tradition, and I think it shows the mosaic of different people that we have at the U of C."

International Week is presented by the International Students Association, the SU and the Division of International Development. Participants include students, faculty and campus ethnic and cultural clubs.

"The theme this year is Roots of the Soul," said Co-ordinator Grace Chung. "It refers to how everyone has a background that goes back through your ancestors, and they are all interconnected to each person’s soul."

A specific event relating to this year’s theme will be the international map, present every day in the MacEwan Student Centre south courtyard. Students can pin the place of their ancestry on a world map, and at the end of the week, all the pins will be connected together with string. Other types of events include guest speakers, music, films, traditional dances, and a variety of booths on display in MSC.

International Week kicked off with a "Parade of Nations" at 11 a.m. Monday morning. The parade featured costumes, flags and music from over 70 countries.

"It has been done before, but not since 1996," said Mihiri Wijesuriya, who organized the parade. "It was really a group effort. If we didn’t all work together, it wouldn’t have happened."

The parade was made up of volunteers, both international and Canadian students. Jolted out of their peaceful studying, students in the path of the parade were nonetheless interested.

"I probably won’t actively participate, but I’ll definitely watch, anything new and interesting," said second-year pre-management student Mike Anderson. "I think people will always pay attention."

Ordinary students not affiliated with any club volunteered their various talents towards the activities.

"It’s a way for me to share part of my culture with others." said Agam Dharshi, who is doing Mehndi hand painting.

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