“It’s a small world after all. It’s a small, small world…” Indeed, it did feel like a small world at the Weitz Center for Creativity on Saturday, May 4, as exotic music and enticing aromas from various nations and cultures marked Carleton’s annual International Festival.
Titled “It’s A Small World After All” this year, the International Festival is organized every year by Carleton students under the guidance of the Office of International and Intercultural life (OIIL) to celebrate and raise awareness about the diversity of cultures on campus by showcasing cuisine, performing arts, and traditional crafts from around the world.
Students received five tickets that allowed them to try food from five different stations. Performances were free for all to enjoy.
The staff of OIIL and student volunteers formed the International Festival Committee that plans the entire festival. Since winter term, the committee has met weekly to plan everything from the choosing the venue to engaging interested cultural groups and individuals to perform and cook.
“It was fun to work with new groups of people and getting to know them through the weekly meetings. It was great to see it all come together in the end,” said Camila de la Vega’16, who worked on the food committee.
When the International Festival officially started at two o’clock in the afternoon on Saturday, Weitz Commons was already brimming with noise and laughter, as sunlight shone through the wide windows behind the stage.
The festival kicked off with the vigorous beats of Samulnori, traditional percussion music from Korea. It was followed by a variety of lively performances, including dancing, theater, and singing.
Members of the Carleton and Northfield community watched Hmong, Hula, Nepali, and Folklórico dance, hummed along to Cantonese and Russian tunes, and learned about a famous Chinese folklore though a play by the Chinese club. “It was wonderful to see so many cultural backgrounds coming together to perform on one stage,” commented Lisette Garcia ’15.
On the other side of the hall, fifteen stands featured delicacies from various continents. Attendants had the chance to try plantains made by the Afro-Caribbean Student Union, cherry cake from France, chocolate pastries from Russia, crystal noodles from Thailand, kimchi pancakes from Korea, sopes made by Latin American Student Association, Hawaiian spam musubi, and more.
Next to the food stands, there was a Chinese painting and calligraphy workshop hosted by Agnes Tse’ 16 from Hong Kong.
Having helped organize the event for several years, OIIL staff members Kristen Askeland and Martin Olague said that the International Festival is the most attended event associated with their office, with attendance each year usually around 25 percent of campus. “People are not just here for the food. They stay and take it all in,” Olague pointed out.
As Olgaby Martinez ’16 said, “it was a inspiring to see so many cultures being represented on campus.”