International Welcome Party draws crowds

Several different nations were represented at the party and 13 cultural organizations participated.
Yin Xu wears a porcelain mask and a Chinese samfu at the Chinese booth at the International Welcome Night at the MU Student Center.

The semi-annual International Welcome Party drew a crowd to the MU Student Center on Saturday.

Jointly organized by the International Programming Committee and the Missouri International Student Council, the International Welcome Party greets new international students and serves as a voice representing all international students, regardless of their origin.

“This event is for the international community to come embrace their culture and teach others about their different culture,” International Programming Committee junior chairwoman Janelle Pfeifer said. “It is open to all MU students and we really like to bring in as diverse a group as possible to really learn about everything that is out there.”

International Programming Committee senior chairwoman Stacy Ike said the International Welcome Party is also a chance for students to network.

“International Welcome Party is just for different organizations and cultures to come together to say what's up for the new semester, get to know each other and for other Mizzou students to get to know international students because that is the biggest thing as I want everybody to get along and start hanging out with each other,” Ike said.

Equipped with “passports,” participants received stamps after visiting cultural booths where student representatives would share information about their cultures. Upon receiving stamps, participants were entitled to plates, which allowed them to sample an array of international cuisine prepared by the participating cultural organizations.

From the 13 participating cultural organizations, 10 different nations were represented including Malaysia, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. Other groups such as the International Students Career Services and the Vedic Society also took the opportunity to reach out to students.

“The passport is a way to encourage people to be more involved in the cultural aspect each organization has to offer,” Missouri International Student Council President Giang Nguyen said.

Beside sampling food and viewing cultural displays, participants also had the chance to make crafts and have their photo taken while dressed in traditional costumes.

“The fact that they each have a table set up so we can see the displays, see the cultures and how they dress and of course the food is amazing, not just because it is delicious but also because we get to taste a bit of their culture,” senior Julia Yang said. “I also learned some words in Taiwanese, and I learned a little bit about an Indian dance group and it's really exciting.”

Nguyen said a smaller crowd was expected for the spring semester and new ideas are being generated for the future International Welcome Party to attract a bigger crowd.

“My expectations for next year is that we will get more organizations involved and more people coming in,” Nguyen said.

Ike said she was happy with the turnout of the party.

“I really hope people will leave excited and be ready for our next event,” Ike said. “We are doing a couple of things throughout this semester and we hope that people really enjoy tonight and keep coming back.”

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