MISC will hold eighth International Flag Day

Students will carry about 40 flags from different countries around campus.

The eighth annual International Flag Day, one of the biggest events put on by the Missouri International Student Council, will feature a procession of students carrying about 40 flags from different countries around the world, beginning at 9 a.m. on Sept. 29.

The day will begin with an address by MISC President Sazanka Idris, then the march around campus will start at Lowry Mall. The parade will end with a ceremony in front of Ellis Library in which Vice Provost James Scott and Assistant Director of the International Center David Currey will address students.

The International Bazaar, which will feature cultural food and beverages from around the world, will take place immediately after. Idris said that this will be the first International Flag Day parade to pass through Traditions Plaza, which opened last October.

Both international and American students are invited to carry flags in the parade. One of the biggest logistical problems was making sure all students who signed up to participate were able, and that international students had first preference in choosing the flag from their country.

Amy Qiang, activity coordinator co-chairwoman, said they always try to extend that courtesy to students, but that it was not always possible.

“For example, I’m from China, but another student had already signed up to carry that flag,” she said. “So, I won’t be carrying the flag of my country. That’s fine, though.”

According to a press release, the purpose of the event is to “raise awareness of the diverse student and faculty present on campus to the MU community.” Idris said that international students, outnumbered by American students, sometimes feel like they aren’t as much a part of the community.

“Like any other minority group in a community, you always have to remind people that we’re here as well, we’re doing the things that you’re doing and we’re trying to understand your culture if you understand ours,” Idris said.

Vice President Adrianna Zhang, also from China, said that being able to carry the flag from their own country was a great source of pride for international students.

“(What international students get from the event is) definitely the pride of holding the flag of, and representing their own countries,” she said. “Just imagine that — I would be so honored if I got to hold the Chinese flag, so I’m kind of jealous of the person who actually gets to.”

MISC participates in several other events throughout the year, including the International Welcome Party, the Games of Champions, the International Banquet and the Homecoming Parade. This is the first year they will have a float in the parade.

Idris said that one of the biggest ways American students can help international students feel more included was to “just talk to them.” She said that she thought many students were afraid to speak to international students.

“I feel like there’s this common stigma that because we’re not from here, we can’t speak the language,” she said. “We live here, so we kind of have to. If you initially open yourself up to people from other countries, or other cultures in general, there’s going to be an exchange of cultures, and then you’re going to be rich in knowledge in general.”

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