United in diversity: Celebration of Cultures in its 10th year

Students from over 40 countries reside on Washburn’s campus, and they bring their vibrant cultures with them.

Miyuki Nishimura, international club president, emphasized the importance of being exposed to numerous cultures.

“I believe that the world would be a little bit more peaceful by exposing ourselves to different countries, differents cultures, learning about them and not refusing them,” said Nishimura.

The traditions and cultural practices of these international students were on full display at the 10th annual Celebration of Cultures. Hosted by the international club, this event featured informational booths for each student’s home country, stage performances and a fashion show.

Ivan Pitsin, junior computer science major, is an international student from Bulgaria, and this was his first year participating in the Celebration of Cultures.

“I am glad they organize this event every year,” Pitsin said. “If [students] have a chance to explore the world, Bulgaria is a beautiful country to visit.”

Pitsin said that what he loves most about Bulgaria are its mountains, which are ideal for hiking and skiing. According to Pitsin, Bulgaria is the crossroads between Europe and the Middle East which gives it great cultural value.

“You can see monuments from different cultures that have passed on that road through the years, [like those of] Alexander the Great or the Roman Empire,” Pitsin said. “There is a lot to see.”

Erya Dhepa, freshman computer science major, represented Nepal at the event. She shared a Nepali sweet carrot cake dish at her booth.

Dhepa said that Washburn is a welcoming environment for international students.

“I think Washburn accepts and embraces all the cultures,” Dhepa said. “We have different international students from all over the world and it’s a diverse university.”

The stage performances featured at the Celebration of Cultures included various displays of dance, music and martial arts. The fashion show displayed traditional dress from around the globe. During the show’s intermission, audience members were challenged to learn how to say hello in at least five different languages.

The event closed with the entire audience being invited on stage for a group dance to celebrate the unification of all cultures here on Washburn’s campus.

Baili Zhang, director of the international program, was happy with the Washburn community’s reception of the event.

“I’m glad to report that these students are strongly supported and adored by our university and larger communities,” Zhang said.